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to come 

Dom Paschal Baumstein, O.S.B. 
Debra G. Estes 

The Archives of Belmont Abbey 
Belmont, North Carolina 28012-1802 

© Belmont Abbey College, Incorporated 

except where otherwise noted 
photographs © Southern Benedictine Society of North Carolina, Inc. 


published by 
Good Will Publishers, Inc. 
in conjunction with 
The Archives of Belmont Abbey 
100 Belmont-Mount Holly Road 
Belmont, NC 28012-1802 

ISBN 0-9614976-7-X 

distributed by 
Office of Alumni and Parent Relations 
Belmont Abbey College 
100 Belmont-Mount Holly Road 
Belmont, NC 28012-1802 

(704) 825-6888 

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, 
including photocopying, recording, taping, or any information storage and retrieval system without 
the written permission of Belmont Abbey College, Inc. Printed in the United States of America. 

Baumstein, Paschal Michael, 1950- , and Debra Gail Estes, 1956- 
Blessing the Years to Come / Dom Paschal Baumstein, O.S.B., Debra G. Estes. 

pp. viii + 120 
ISBN 0-9614976-7-X 

Endpapers show the pattern in the Georgia marble 
of the dexter ambo, Abbey Church of Maryhelp (Belmont Abbey). 



The work and prayers here "shall spread God's blessing over this beautiful country in 
years to come, when perhaps jew of you who are listening to me now shall be among 
the living." 

— Abbot Leo Haid 
May 4, 1886 

Blessing of the cornerstone of the College Building (Stowe Hall) 

A few years ago, a young monk guiding a busload of visitors through the 
doorway of the Abbey Church said, "The monks first came in 1876. Our first 
chapel was a small room..." People were surprised that the monk seemed 
to include himself among those early arrivals. 

"That's the character of a monastery," he explained, "the way Belmont 
Abbey works. It is a continuum. The monks of today and our work are 
merely extensions of the lives and works of monks of more than 100 years 
ago. This is a body of work where the past is part of today and tomorrow, 
inextricably linked." 

The collection of photographs in this volume, taken from the more than 
14,000 in the archives, is meant to capture the essence of that continuum. 
Like the Benedictines, today's alumni and friends are part of the continuing 
line of people who call the Abbey alma mater ("our mother"), who call her 
"friend" and speak of her in the present tense. 

In selecting photographs, we favored early shots; we wanted today's 
alumni, friends and students to brush against the pavers of the 120-year 
corridor we share. By no means all inclusive and certainly not chronological 
(a sure defeat of our purpose), these small glimpses capture the spirit of the 
people and the place. In many instances, they bring into the light hidden 
and priceless treasures of the monastery archives and offer them for your 
review as family heirlooms. 

For alumni and old friends, these nuggets will recapture moments in time 
and establish their importance in the identity and life of Belmont Abbey 
College. For those who are new, these photographs will provide a glimpse 
of the unique people, places and events that continue to make the Abbey 
such a special place. 

The college and monastery join with our revered first abbot, Leo Haid, in 
our desire that this collection will... bless the years to come. 


tABle op contents 

Introduction Hi 

Chronology vii 

I. The Founding 1 

II. Stability 5 

III. The Legacy of Saint Mary's College 13 

IV. The College Building 19 

V. Vision and Breadth of Education 25 

VI. Growth of Scholarship 33 

VII. The Leaders 41 

VIII. Benedictine Life 45 

IX. Stability Against the Odds 53 

X. Faith Supplies 57 

XI. The Abbey in Performance 65 

XII. Athletics 75 

XIII. Library 83 

XIV. Life Outside the Classroom 87 

XV. Beauty and Custom 99 

XVI. The Abbey Today 109 

XVII. The Next Generation 117 


chronology of Belmont ABBey college 

1876 Benedictine monks from Saint Vincent Abbey (Pennsylvania) take possession of the former 
Caldwell farm, and open there Saint Mary's College. 

1878 The College holds its first commencement exercises. 

1884 The Dramatics Society is formed, and produces its first play in the spring semester. On 19 
December, the Holy See raises the monastery to the rank of an abbey. 

1886 Saint Mary's College (Belmont) is chartered by the State of North Carolina. A philosophical 
course of studies is initiated for seminarians, a program which soon expands into a full theological 
sequence. A graduate program is created in the College, offering Master's level studies. 

1890 The Seminary starts receiving priesthood candidates from dioceses. 

1891 The Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes is constructed and blessed as a Pilgrimage Shrine. 

1892 Construction begins on the Abbey Church of Maryhelp. The Sisters of Mercy are welcomed to 

1895 The Holy See invests the campus with the privilege of celebrating the feasts of Saint Walburga 
and Our Lady of Lourdes with special liturgical honors. 

1900 Two-thirds of the College Building is destroyed by fire. Reconstruction begins immediately, and 
school opens on schedule in the autumn. 

1904 Blessed Katharine Drexel, S.B.S., visits Belmont Abbey. 

1910 Belmont is created a nullius 'diocese' by Pope Saint Plus X, giving the Abbey Church cathedral 

1913 The name of the college is changed from "Saint Mary's" to "Belmont Abbey College." The first 
alumni reunion is held at Belmont. 

1928 Belmont Abbey College is reorganized as a junior-college, suspending all Bachelor's and Master's 

1930 The College begins its affiliation with The Catholic University of America. 
1933 Enrollment in the Seminary is restricted to Benedictines. 

1936 The College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. 

1937 The philosophy program for seminarians is suspended. 

1939 The Monastery and College libraries are united and housed in common. 

1952 The College is returned to senior-college status, offering bachelor's degrees. The philosophy 
program for seminarians is restored. 

1956 The preparatory-school is terminated. The College's governance system is changed, making the 
major superior of the Monastery the chancellor of the College, and translating the office of rector 
into the presidency of the College. 


1957 The College is accredited as a senior college by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. 

1962 Belmont's Abbot Walter Coggin begins his service as a Father at the Second Vatican Council. 

1965 Consecration of the newly renovated Abbey Cathedral of Maryhelp takes place on 28 March 
with Abbot Walter officiating. 

1969 A monograph by Father Anselm Biggs on Benedictine Life is published. 

1973 Female students are permitted to reside on campus. The Abbey Cathedral is placed on the 
National Register of Historic Places. Father David Kessinger, O.S.B. becomes the first trained 
archivist appointed to care for the Abbey's historical records. 

1976 The first lay members are admitted to the College's Board of Trustees. The annual observance of 
Founder's Day on 21 April is instituted in the Monastery. 

1977 The nullius 'diocese' is suppressed on 1 January. 

1983 The College Building, later known popularly as the "Administration Building," is renamed "Robert 
Lee Stowe Hall." 

1992 In a revival of graduate studies at Belmont Abbey College, the first students are enrolled for 
pursuit of a Master's degree in education. 

1993 The Belmont Abbey Historic District is created and entered upon the National Register of Historic 

1997 A pictorial history of Belmont Abbey College is published. 


section i 

the founding 


Belmont ABBey, Both 

monastery and college, began as a gift. 
Father Jeremiah J. O'Connell, Obl.S.B., a 
priest of the Diocese of Charleston, had 
founded Saint Mary's College (defunct by the end of 
the Civil War) in Columbia, SC, and desired to bring 
Catholic higher education back to the Carolinas. The 
Caldwell family of Gaston County, NC, found 
themselves land-poor after the war, resulting in the sale 
of their 500-acre farm for back taxes. Subsequently, after 
the original purchaser failed to complete the acquisition, 
O'Connell bought the bid and the "Caldwell Place." 

O'Connell, acting through Bishop (later Cardinal) 
James Gibbons, the Vicar Apostolic of North Carolina 
and the Bishop of Richmond, offered the land to 
another religious order, the Redemptorists. They 
declined the gift which was then offered to the 
Benedictines who accepted it with its accompanying 
requirement that a Catholic college be established on 
the property. The Benedictines were also attracted by 
the promise of a productive farm for the school's 

The first Benedictine priest, Father Herman Wolfe, 
arrived from Saint Vincent Abbey (later archabbey) in 
Pennsylvania on April 21, 1876. Wolfe [pictured on page 
42] was accompanied by two students and began 
classes immediately. By the beginning of term in the 
fall, Wolfe proudly reported that enrollment had 
doubled: he had four students. 


the ReveRend jeRemiah 
o'connell, obL.s.b. 

A circuit-riding priest serving the Carolinas, 
The Reverend Jeremiah J. O'Connell, 
Obl.S.B., was the Irish-born donor of the 
land where Belmont Abbey College 
(originally known as "Saint Mary's 
College") is situated. As a provision of the 
gift, O'Connell reserved the right to reside 
on the premises for the remainder of his life 
(d. 1894). He served the monks by teaching 
priesthood-candidates and eventually 
became an oblate (a member of the laity 
who has attached himself formally to the 

the ORiqinal chapeL 

The original Chapel of Maryhelp (1877) seated about 100, 
before being expanded a decade later to seat 150. In defiance 
of the law, the monks' policy was the intermingling of races in 
the church. However, not even abbatial fiat could solve 
complications like the locals' expectation that African- 
American Catholics would give their seats to white late- 
comers. The small size of the chapel eventually caused the 
abbot to grant the request of the local African-Americans to 
build them a separate church on abbey property. Once the 
brick Abbey Church was constructed (1892-93), the separate 
chapel (Saint Benedict Church) was converted to a school and 
the races once again were joined at the abbey's liturgies. 

BROthCR QllBeRt 



In the early days, the 
monks did much of the 
construction work on the 
grounds. Brother Gilbert 
Koberzynski, O.S.B. 
(1840-1920), formerly a 
boatwright, oversaw 
many of these projects. 
Koberzynski built from 
rough drawings and was 
particularly adept at 
computing what 
materials would be 
needed for construction projects. The ceiling of the Abbey 
Cathedral is an especially notable example of his work; 
viewed from above, it resembles a boat's hull. 


james qiBBons 

The Most Reverend James 
Gibbons (later Cardinal) 
(1834-1921) was bishop over 
North Carolina and Virginia 
when the monastery and 
college were founded. 
Throughout his life he took 
the honorific though 
questionable title of 
"founder" of the abbey's 
presence here. The leading 
prelate of the Catholic 
Church in the United States 
in his lifetime, he came to 
Belmont on various occasions. 
Students looked forward to 
his visits, especially since his 
custom was to give a "free- 
day" in honor of his presence. 

eaRLy faculty (18861 

Originally, the faculty of the College was composed entirely of monks. The college offered such an expansive curriculum that monks 
were often not told what they would teach until a week or so before classes started; so each had to be conversant with a number of 
disciplines. These monk-professors resided in close proximity to the students, a testimony to the Abbey's vision of education. Front 

row (left to right): Father Felix Hintemeyer, O.S.B., 
professor of philosophy, Latin, drawing; Father 
Patrick Donlon, O.S.B., professor of religion, 
mathematics, English literature, rhetoric, history; 
Father Rector Julius Pohl, O.S.B., professor of 
physiology and phonography; Abbot Leo Haid, 
O.S.B., president, professor of bookkeeping, 
mathematics, political economy, law; Father 
Eustace Sonntag, O.S.B. (on loan from Saint Vincent 
Abbey), professor of instrumental music; Father 
George Lester, O.S.B., professor of chemistry; 
Father Charles Mohr, O.S.B., chaplain and 
disciplinarian, professor of telegraphy. Back row: 
Frater Benedict Roth, O.S.B., prefect of collegiate 
scholars, professor of Latin, Greek, German; Frater 
Francis Meyer, O.S.B., professor of elocution, 
history, German, vocal music; and Frater Bernard 
Hass, O.S.B., prefect of preparatory school scholars, 
professor of Latin, German. 

ABBOt Leo hAIO. 


The real founder of the Abbey 
and the guiding force in the 
College was Abbot-Bishop 
Leo Michael Haid, O.S.B., 
D.D. (1849-1924), shown here 
in his first official portrait as 
abbot (1885). He served 39 
years as abbot and 36 as 
bishop. An exemplary monk, 
gifted teacher and renowned 
orator, Haid contributed 
greatly to the character of the 
College by setting down his 
principles (e.g., standards for 
teachers, ambitions for the 
institution) in writing and in 
public addresses as an outline 
of expectations. The character 
of Belmont Abbey is indebted 
to Haid above all others. 

brass And Reed Band 

Haid insisted that varied extracurricular activities, involving 
both students and monks, complement the Benedictine ideal of 
educating the whole man. The band (seen here in 1898) gave 
concerts, played during intervals at plays, led processions and 
parades, and performed at liturgical services. 


Athletics at the Abbey have always held some 
prominence. Initially, baseball was required of all 
students. Although most games were intramural, 
there was a varsity team that played local schools and 
teams associated with area textile mills, civic 
organizations and businesses. The baseball team in 
later years even had the opportunity to play a game 
against Babe Ruth and the New York Yankees on one 
of the their many visits to the Abbey in the 1920's and 
1930's. The priest in this photograph is Father Ambrose 
Gallagher, O.S.B., the first native of Charlotte, NC, to 
enter the monastery here. 

eARly students 

In its first 50 years, the College 
was divided into four sections: 
preliminary, preparatory- 
school, college and seminary. It 
even gave graduate degrees. In 
the College, there were two 
courses of study: the classical 
course (liberal arts) and the 
professional (e.g., accounting). 
These photographs (from the 
1890's) show the diversity of 
ages in the student body, 
ranging from boys as young as 
nine (known as "Minims") to 
young men in their mid- 
twenties. Because there were 
few Catholics in North Carolina, 
the majority of students came 
from the Northeast, especially 
Pennsylvania, New York and 
New Jersey. 


campus BuiLomqs tisso's] 

Various frame structures at the Abbey were 
positioned randomly on the center campus 
during the early years. They were later 
replaced by masonry buildings. In this photo, 
the beginnings of the brick buildings can be 
seen (center, back). The first brick sections 
(seen here) of the Monastery were built in 
1880 and 1891; the first of the College in 1886 
and 1888. The cottage used by Father 
O'Connell, the donor of the land, is situated 
before the two-story frame building. The 
white structure at the center is the small 
chapel of 1877 (expanded in 1887) that served 
the campus and area Catholics until the 
construction of the Abbey Church (1892-93). 
Because of the chapel's size, mass for the 
students was sometimes scheduled apart from 
the Mass for other Catholics. 

the QROtto of our L\6y of LouRoes 

The Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, built in 1891, has always served as a focus of campus devotion. Of interest in this photograph is 
the frame building (top, right) which was moved sequentially on the campus as brick buildings were constructed. It was razed once 
the Monastery was completed. The Shrine of Saint Walburga (left) was added that same year in honor of the secondary patroness of 
the abbey. This photograph from 1894 includes Father O'Connell (donor of the property) seated on a bench (right). 


section ii 



Benedictine monks take a 

vow of stability: a lifetime profession to a 
particular monastery. This commitment 
provides a unique base of strength and 

O O 

longevity on which the monastic community, and in 
turn, that of the greater College stands. 

True to this Benedictine tradition, the pioneers of 
Belmont Abbey sought to develop a life and character 
that would endure. Abbot Leo Haid believed sturdy 
brick buildings would express values like stability and 
beauty. Around these structures thrived a rich human 
element, comprised of varied individuals, both young 
and old, monk and student, cleric and lay, male and 
(later) female, who were nurtured into a whole by 
scholarship, religion, strenuous effort and the fraternity 
of their common life. 

For both College and Monastery, the buildings, the 
people and their activities have formed a strong, 
enduring tradition and a lasting stability. 



Tuition never covers all the expenses involved in 
running a college. So from the beginning, Saint 
Mary's College at Belmont depended upon the 
monastic Brothers to provide support and services for 
the institution. The Brothers (left) were farmers, 
woodwrights, mechanics, electricians, cooks, 
housekeepers, etc. In this photograph (1907), Father 
Willibald Baumgartner, O.S.B. (front row, center), 
poses with the Brothers, most of whom (like Father 
Willibald himself) were of German ancestry or birth. 

ABBey chuRch 

The Abbey Church of Maryhelp (1892-1893) was designed to articulate the 
Catholic character and focus of the institution. This photograph (1894) is the 
oldest view of the interior of the church. 

euqene dunne 

Saint Benedict says that the monastery will 
have 'many different characters.' The 
College has also had an assortment of 
characters whose presence and 
eccentricities have added flavor to the 
institution. This 1892 photograph shows 
Eugene Dunne. The son of Edmund 
Francis Dunne, a Count of the Holy See, 
Eugene styled himself a Papal Viscount. 
His education at the abbey — which 
included a graduate degree — was 
provided without charge, in response to 
his father's generosity to the Benedictines' 
monastic foundation in Florida. Eugene, 
who subsequently changed his patronym 
to "O'Dunne," later became a Judge of the 
Supreme Bench in Baltimore. 


The 1886 College 
catalogue specified that 
students should arrive 
with "three or four suits, 
and sufficient changes of 
underwear to meet the 
requirements of the 
various seasons." The 
boys were forbidden to 
leave the grounds "to 
procure clothes." Lest 
the young scholars 
neglect their school- 
work, they were only 
allowed to write home 
on Saturdays and 

o'connell qRound Breaking 

As the College developed, new buildings were 
required. At the 1961 ground breaking of 
Jeremiah J. O'Connell Hall (named for the 
donor of the College's land), the school 
entered a new age. With O'Connell Hall, 
students were for the first time to be allowed 
to reside on the east side of the campus. 

QRAduatinq cLass 

The 1897 graduates of Saint 
Mary's College suggest the 
variety of ages represented 
among the students in those 
years. Father Melchior 
Reichert, O.S.B. (one of the 
founders of the abbey) is 
seated at center. To his right 
is George Taylor. That 
summer, Taylor entered the 
Benedictine community, 
taking the name Vincent. In 
1924, he was elected abbot 
and became president of the 


This photograph shows the College's faculty in 1893. 
The abbot was president, a monk-rector oversaw daily 
operations, and monks taught the full curriculum, 
classics to commercial, preparatory to graduate. First 
row (L to R): Fathers Ignatius Remke, Melchior Reichert, 
Abbot-Bishop Leo Haid, Father Prior Felix Hintemeyer, 
Father Albert Goetz; back row: Fathers Edward Meyer, 
Andrew Plecher, Father Rector William Mayer, Fathers 
Aloysius Hanlon, and Bernard Haas. 


student Bo6y lc.i894j 

An annual event at the young College was the taking of the school picture. All the students would assemble on the front lawn of the 
College Building and face whichever monk had been assigned to act as photographer. At the time of this photograph (c. 1894), only 
two sections of the College Building had been completed. The front portico would not be constructed until 1902. 


Abbot Leo wanted all of his monks to be 
familiar with the art of making wine. The 
original vineyard (seen here in 1887) was on the 
site subsequently occupied by the Haid 
Gymnasium. In the background stands the first 
section of the College Building, erected in the 
previous year. 

e^st view 

By 1891, two sections of the College Building, 
and two of the Monastery had been erected. At 
that time, the monks considered designating the 
east facade of the Monastery (seen here at right) 
as the building's front. There, the promenade 
porch provided a view that would not be 
obstructed by traffic on the public road. The 
Monastery's main entrance was relocated on its 
west side upon construction of the Abbey Church 
the following year. 


rrmntenAnce woRkeRS 

From the beginning, non-monks were hired to help with farm work. Only in the mid-twentieth century, however, did it become 
common to hire skilled local workmen as maintenance supervisors. The result was a corps of loyal and expert men who kept the 
Abbey's facilities in good order while willingly assisting in varied labors, ranging from moving and carrying to repairs and 
groundskeeping. The photograph (above left) includes some of the school's longest-serving staff, including Willie Lowe (second from 
left), Ray Harrelson (third from left), and Jim Hope (far right). The photograph (above right.) shows some of the convict-laborers, 
who were brought to the Abbey in the 1910's and 1920's to assist with construction of buildings and roads. 

SACRed he«\Rt college 

The Sisters of Mercy came to North Carolina earlier than 
S did the Benedictines. Later in 1892, they moved their 
5fjj motherhouse from the eastern part of the state to 

Belmont. Abbot-Bishop Haid wanted the Mercys to join in 
his work; he respected their reputation for generous, 
selfless service and hard work. Upon arrival in Belmont, 
the Sisters opened a girls' academy (later Sacred Heart 
College) and orphanage. Subsequently, their work 
expanded into hospitals and other ministries. 

mementos of ABBey Life 

Through the years, the collegians have posed regularly for photographs with 
favorite monks. In this 1911 photo, Father Willibald Baumgartner, O.S.B., 
visiting from his pastoral assignment in Salisbury, was joined by some of his 
former students. The tallest student in the back row is Nicholas Bliley [see 
page 54], a Richmond boy who later became a monk of the abbey and prior of 
the monastery. 

Prior felix hmtemeyeR, o.s.b. 

The chief assistant to Abbot Leo was Father Prior 
Felix Hintemeyer, O.S.B. (1861/2-1924). An 
immigrant from Bavaria, he became a monk of 
Saint Vincent Abbey (PA), then one of the 
founding monks of Belmont. Scholar, playwright, 
essayist, professor, and chief lieutenant to Haid, 
Father Felix was responsible for daily operations at 
the Abbey and for the creation of her reputation 
and esteem in the wider world. On his way to 
Rome as Bishop Haid's delegate to Pope Pius XI, 
Hintemeyer died in Naples and was buried at the 
motherhouse of the Benedictine Order, 

«\BBey wAteR 

The water found on the 
property at Belmont is plentiful 
and pure. The monks dug 
wells at several locations on 
campus to make the water's 
retrieval more convenient. In 
1996, entrepreneur and motor- 
sports promoter Howard A. 
"Humpy" Wheeler, Jr., 
arranged for Belmont Abbey 
Water to be bottled and sold 
commercially. Wheeler's 
father, "Humpy," Sr. [see page 
76], had served as the College's 
athletic director. 

Belmont ABBey 

histoRic OlStRICt 

As the Carolinas grew and roads 
expanded, automobile traffic brought 
an increasing number of people to the 
vicinity of the Abbey. As a result, the 
school's architecture became a local 
landmark, eventually being placed on 
the National Register of Historic 
Places (1993) as the Belmont Abbey 
Historic District. 


The Fraters of the monastery represented the future. They were the next generation of 
monk-priests, professors, and missionaries. The fraters of 1918, seen here in the 
company of their abbot and some of their professors, were to prove a particularly 
distinguished class of academics, pastors, and administrators. Front row (L to R): Father 
Alphonse Buss, Abbot-Bishop Leo Haid, Fraters Edward Biss, Gregory Eichenlaub, Leo 
Frierson, Wilfrid Foley, and Charles Kastner. Standing (L to R): Fraters Robert Brennan, 
Norbert McGowan, Joseph Tobin, Cyril McEllhatten. 


monastic fRatecnity 

In his Rule, Saint Benedict instructs the younger monks to revere 
their elders, and the elders to love the young (RB 63). This 
mixing of the ages is part of the richness of monastic life, and a 
source of its stability. That fraternity is reflected in this 1958 
photograph showing Brother Maurus Lobenhofer (left, age 88) 
with a novice, Brother Martin Boags (age 18). 



Beneoictme peace 

The Jubilee Medal of Saint Benedict (1880) 
is inscribed on the reverse with the motto 
"PAX" (peace). The Benedictine peace of 
the Abbey campus is suggested in the 
setting of the Abbey Church and the 
dominating figure of Saint Benedict that 
now stands before it (above). [For its 
original location, see page 16.] These 
drawings (1936) of the Benedictine medal 
are the work of Father Michael 
Mclnerney, O.S.B. [See page 111.] 

1 1 

campus 1940 

-h \ 

5 6 7 8 




1 1 



17 16 



N to Mount Holly E to Charlotte 
S to Belmont W to Gastonia 


Jubilee Hall (1897) [razed in 1993] 


College Annex (1888) 


Brothers' Clausura (1893) [razed in 1993] 


College Portico (1902) 


O'Donoghue Hall (1904) [(also called Library Wing) burned 1960] 


College Annex (1898) 


Pilgrimage Shrine of Maria Lourdes (1891) 


Site of beginning of fire (1900) 


Monastery Annex (1894) 


Saint Leo Hall (1906) 


Monastery Annex (1891) 


College Tower (1898) 


Monastery Porte Cochere (1902) 


Bakery (1890) [razed 1964] 


Monastery [originally College] (1880) 


Abbey Cathedral of Maryhelp (1892) 


College Building (1886) 


section in 

the Legacy of 

saint mat^y's college 


when the college opened 

in 1876 it was dedicated to the Blessed 
Mother, under her title "Help of 
Christians." In 1913, when the school's 

name was changed from Saint Mary's to Belmont Abbey 
College, the abbot and faculty articulated the "express 
understanding that, though the official title was 
changed, the institution would nevertheless remain 
under the immediate patronage of the Blessed Mother." 

The changed name was intended to lend distinction 
and specificity. Belmont Abbey College was chosen as "a 
pretty title, absolutely distinctive." It is of interest to 
note that with the new name, the school colors — 
which "had received severe criticism of late," being 
thought funereal — were altered from black and orange 
to crimson and cream. 

The College's years as Saint Mary* s were vital ones: 
establishing the institution's educational and social 
character. The traditions inherited from the pioneer 
Abbeymen, reflected in the photographs in this 
collection, continue to shape the culture and identity 
of the college well into her second century. 

1 3 


The Classical scholars posed for this photograph in 
1903. Their number included Wilhelm 
(subsequently Father Cornelius) Diehl (standing, 
second from left), and Edward (later Father 
Raphael) Arthur (standing, second from right). 
Diehl became an eminent pastor; Arthur, a man of 
broad learning and distinguished teaching skills. 
The College's faculty that year included Father 
Prior Felix Hintemeyer (seated, third from left), 
who specialized in languages, theology, and 
classical literature; Father Thomas Oestreich 
(seated, third from right) who was historian and 
librarian; and Father Rector Eugene Egan (back, 
center). Egan (1875-1940), a native of Atlanta, had 
only been ordained two years when he was 
named to lead the College. Remembered as a 
gentleman and scholar, he was always in demand 
as confessor to the students and for pastoral work 
in the monastery's parishes. 

stuoy -LiaLLs 

Study-halls brought the students 
together for research, writing, and 
reading in an arrangement that 
mingled discipline with open inquiry. 
A faculty member, sometimes 
accompanied by the rector, prior, or 
abbot, presided at study-hall, 
responded to questions and 
encouraged the young scholars. Here 
the boys posed in 1887 with their 
study-hall staff (monks at table, 
front): Father Charles Mohr (at left 
with dog, later abbot of Saint Leo in 
Florida), Frater Bernard Haas (right, 
later rector at Belmont), and Father 
Julius Pohl, (center) then rector of the 

BeLmont township 

Walking into the nearby town of 
Belmont was a favorite outing for 
early students. It required special 
permission. In the first days of the 
school, when parents deposited 
students' spending money with the 
College, the young scholars had to 
apply to the Bursar for pocket- 
money if they planned to make 
purchases in town. A popular 
acquisition was an Orange Smash at 
the soda-fountain of Belmont's 
drugstore. Dapper Abbeymen 
posed for this photograph (c.1914- 
1915) on such an excursion. 

1 4 

centeR campus 

This 1907 photograph (above) was recorded on paired, glass 
negatives, now preserved in the Monastery's archives. 
Although the foreground perspective is distorted, this 
photograph displays the centrality of the Abbey Church (it 
would acquire cathedral rank in 1910) in the campus' design. 
The central campus was completed with the construction of 
Saint Leo Hall (at right) in 1906. 

ABBey pRess 

The Abbey Press and print shop reflected the monks' desire to 
use modern means in executing their work in Belmont. The 
print shop did pamphlets, occasional books {e.g., a 1921 edition 
of Rule of Saint Benedict in translation), stationery, forms, or 
any other work that would advance either the school or pastoral 

sacRAmentAl Life 

The accessibility of the bishop (and later the abbots-ordinary) and 
priests allowed students ready access to the Sacraments and spiritual 
counsel. Mass has always been offered daily at the Abbey; in the first 
century of the College, Confessions were always scheduled for First 
Saturdays, as well as being heard daily on request. Bishop Haid gave 
Confirmation annually, including to this class (c.1898). Because some 
students came to the Abbey more prepared than others— some had 
been instructed in their home parishes, while others only studied their 
faith after coming to Belmont— even the Confirmation class reflected the 
diversity of ages among the students. 

ye^Rs of QROwth 

Under Abbot Walter Coggin (1956-1970), 
the College saw unprecedented growth. 
In 1957, when the school was accredited 
as a senior-college, the new library 
building arose. In the 1960's, three 
dormitories, the William Gaston Science 
Hall, new playing fields and tennis courts, 
and the Maurus Hall cafeteria were built. 
Before Coggin retired as abbot-chancellor 
and returned to teaching, construction 
began on the final building of his reign, 
Wheeler Center, an athletics complex. 


baseball champions (1892J 

In the 1890' s, baseball at the abbey 
was dominated by the Abbatichio 
brothers from Pennsylvania. William 
Abbatichio kept a diary of his life at 
Belmont. It is a balanced report, 
covering classes, games, religious life 
and devotions, the first installation 
(and frequent outages) of electrical 
lights, gorging on strawberries, 
details of dormitory life (and pranks 
like placing frogs in classmates' beds), 
the Seniors' persimmon fight, even 
receipt of the news of Dewey's 
victory at Manila. Abbatichio's entry 
for Wednesday, 8 March 1899, reads 
"Ray's team beat Ward's 7-6. I 
[caught] fly, made a run [that] didn't 
count, put out 1st 3 times. Louis Forde 


The Brothers ran the Bakery (also called the Pie 
Shop) from its prominent site on the esplanade north 
of the Abbey Cathedral. The Abbey's ovens 
produced bread and pastries, and its pies were held 
in particularly high regard. The Bakery was a 
favorite spot for students, who found the Brothers 
generous with their wares. After more than seventy 
years of service, the Bakery was razed in 1964, when 
its bricks were used to build the new narthex of the 
Abbey Cathedral. 

Blessing of saint Benedict [1924] 

The life-sized Saint Benedict Statue was imported from Italy in 1924. Its blessing that summer was one of Abbot-Bishop 
Haid's last public ceremonies. At that time, the building behind the statue (Jubilee Hall) housed rooms for the Brothers, 
workshops, classrooms, and the old dramatic hall; the wing at right was O'Donoghue Hall, which included more rooms 
for the Brothers and housed the library. 


student friendships 

The friendships formed at the Abbey continue long past 
graduation, as in the case of students like these, (left to right) 
John Joseph (later Father Robert) Brennan and Karl (later Father 
Gregory) Eichenlaub. These young men passed from the college 
to the monastery where as monk-priests they befriended new 
generations of students, returning alumni, and acted as pastors to 
Catholics of the Carolinas, Georgia, and Virginia. 

student health 

These photographs are representative of the student body in the 
1890's. Student's memoirs record the presence of all necessary 
services on the grounds of the Abbey. One of the monks was 
specially charged to act as infirmarian. Often the same monk 
acted as veterinarian to the farm animals. One student, afflicted 
with nosebleeds, was prescribed a dose of powder to be held 
beneath his tongue. He reported that it had little effect upon his 
bleeding, but it did encourage his resolution to be more stoic if 
the malady recurred. 

edmund meisteR, o.s.b. 

This contented student is Henry 
(later Father Edmund) Meister, 
shown here on the annual Mountain 
Day outing (c.1908). Although 
enrolled as a classical scholar, 
Meister' s expertise lay in the natural 
sciences. In those days the sciences 
were just acquiring a prominent 
place in the curriculum. Meister's 
brilliance, when he was still a 
student, served to encourage 
professors to nurture competence in 
botany, biology, and chemistry, 
eventually allowing a full program 
of scientific inquiry. Abbot Leo later 
sent Meister to study the sciences at 
Johns Hopkins University in 
Baltimore, making Father Edmund 
the first monk to undertake 
graduate work at a secular 
American university. 



in time An 6 Labor 

At more than 500 acres, the Abbey 
campus provided ample space for student 
activities. The first two students were 
Richmond boys, Henry Plageman and 
Anthony Lauman. They worked on the 
farm as well as attended classes, beginning 
a venerable tradition among the students. 
The young scholars often volunteered to 
give up free-days to assist with 
construction of new buildings, and were 
instrumental and heroic in fighting the 
fire that almost destroyed the school in 

academic pROcessions 

A continuing element of college life is the academic procession. Students and faculty, arrayed in academic regalia, used these occasions 
to lend solemnity to graduations and addresses by distinguished speakers. For generations of students, these processions would have 
been incomplete without Father Cuthbert Allen, O.S.B., at the head of the file. In this photograph (1953), he is leading the procession 
into the Haid Gymnasium for an academic convocation in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee (belatedly celebrated) of Belmont Abbey 


section iv 

the college Building 



when the Benedictines 

first arrived in North Carolina, the buildings 
on the Caldwell Place were relatively 
fragile, frame constructions. Although the 

land had been offered as a "plantation," it was, in reality, 
a poor farm with a decrepit dwelling and unproductive 
fields. The first structures of the Benedictines were of 
wood. Early students reported that, from their beds at 
night, they could watch the stars through holes in the 
roof, "and if it comes a big rain," one added, "we'll all 
get to go swimming." 

In 1880 the first brick wing of the school (later 
converted to use as the monastery) appeared, testimony 
to the intended permanence of the new institution. 
Then in 1886, Abbot-Bishop Leo Haid, assisted by 
Brother Wolfgang Traxler, O.S.B., of Saint Vincent 
Abbey in Pennsylvania, began construction of the 
College Building, later called the Administration Building 
and today known as Robert Lee Stowe Hall. It was the 
largest structure, and its facilities were to be the most 
comprehensive, on the campus. 


main entrance 

Built in three wings (1886, 1888, 1898), the 
College Building housed all college services- 
classrooms, administration, dormitories, dining, 
storage (e.g., trunk room), and services (e.g., 
school store, cobbler's shop). As the building 
expanded, a second-floor dramatic hall and third- 
floor chapel joined the mix. This photograph 
shows the elegant interior at the central entrance, 
with wainscoting of pecan and oak, ornate 
stairways, and framed arches of Gothic design. 


In blessing the cornerstone of the College Building (May 4, 1886), Abbot Leo 
said, "This is to be, God willing, a house of education. To educate young men 
and to expand the powers of their youthful soul, and to make that soul more like 
its God, and to make it more resemble the perfect type of its Creator, more and 
more by polishing it and by instilling in it on all occasions true Christian Principle: 
This then is to be the work to which [this College] is to be dedicated." 

6minq hALL 

The students' dining room was in the east (1886) section of the College Building. 
Faculty officiated from the head-table, led the blessing, and maintained discipline. 
Originally the boys were seated according to academic rank. The Brothers 
cooked the meals. Students served one another at table. On major liturgical 
feasts, it was customary for the boys to hear a reading from Scripture or the 
Martyrology (a biography of the saint of the day) before dining; after the reading 
they were permitted to talk (talking at table was called "colloquium"). Prefects 
and senior professors would sometimes join the students at table, leading 

ClASSROOm 11900] 

When the College Building was opened, each monk-professor 
was assigned a classroom, which doubled as his office. The 
students changed rooms when passing from subject to subject 
and from professor to professor. Abbot-Bishop Leo Haid 
thought that this arrangement would make the professors 
more accessible, since a student would always know where he 
might consult with the priest who taught him. A few of the 
desks seen in this photograph (1900) are still at the Abbey; each 
had an inkwell and retractable seat. The latter was necessary 
since a student always stood at his place for the prayer that 
opened class and whenever addressing the professor or giving 
his daily "recitation." 


n, °»t, Gaston 

- ^^f^f— - 

college towec 

The original design for 
the College Building was 
shown on the cover of 
the 1893 College 
catalogue (left)--even 
though only part of the 
structure had been built 
at that point. The ornate 
tower that is its crown 
had not yet been 
conceived. When added 
in 1898, the tower was 
meant by Haid to 
witness to the 
completion of the major 
academic hall of the 
school. The College 
Building was designed at 
3-1/2 storys; the tower 
was 4-1/2 in height 


The College's kitchen was positioned in a 
partial basement that started under the 
Monastery (1880 section) and extended under 
the first wing of the school (1886). The 
College used this kitchen for almost 105 years. 

the college parIour 

The College Parlour was on the left when one 
entered the College Building from the south. 

Here, visiting parents and dignitaries were 
entertained (although its use by students was 
not allowed in the early days). This 
photograph (1898) shows cuspidors, the new 
electric chandelier, and the influence of ornate 
Victorian tastes. The cross secured in the glass 
dome (foreground, left of center) was saved 
from the fire of 1900, then preserved into 
modern times by the family of Dr. J. Paul Ford, 
(LL.D., 1962), a long-time friend and generous 
benefactor of the College. 

2 I 

the college 

Benedictine colleges in the 
United States prided 
themselves on their 
museums. These displayed 
scientific curiosities and 
often reflected the interests 
of individual monks. 
Belmont's was created early 
in the school's history, then 
expanded in 1898 when re- 
positioned at the southwest 
end of the College Building 
on the first floor. It 
contained scientific exhibits, 
mementos of the travels of 
alumni and their families, 
art, and an extensive 
collection of weaponry. 


The brick portico at the entrance to the College Building was 
designed by the monk-architect Father Michael Mclnerney, 
O.S.B., in 1902. He used it to attribute a more Gothic 
character to the building. In 1994 the entrance was enhanced 
further by new Honduras mahogany doors and wrought- 
iron railings, capped in brass. These were a gift of the 
Gallagher family, in memory of Mrs. Iva Lea Gallagher. 

changes And 

The interiors of the campus' 
buildings have proven 
versatile, allowing numerous 
renovations as required by 
changing needs and cir- 
cumstances. Jubilee Hall on 
the north featured single 
rooms with windows on both 
sides. The monastery is 
single-loaded with corridors 
on the east, monks' cells and 
other provisions on the west. 
Stowe Hall is double-loaded, 
multiplying the rooms, and 
allowing for varied use. 
Among Stowe's more than 
two dozen renovations, the 
most striking was the 
sequential revision initiated in 
the 1970's, wherein interior 
bricks were exposed, oak 
frames embraced the win- 
dows, and air-conditioning 
was added. The effect, as seen 
in this 1983 photograph, was a completely revised environment that 
blended the modern with the traditional. 

contact with the Local community 

Starting in the 1940' s, Father Cuthbert Allen saw that the College was more 
prominent in and provided greater services to the local area, especially the 
community in Belmont. He oversaw sociological research, accepted numerous 
speaking engagements and promoted ecumenism. After Allen's death, the 
College made one of its most significant gestures in emphasizing its ties to 
Gaston County: On April 21, 1983, the Administration Building was re-named 
in honor of a local industrialist, Robert Lee Stowe (1866-1963). In this 
photograph, some of Stowe's descendants gather on the occasion of the new 


second plooR 

In 1994-95, the second floor of Stowe Hall was enhanced by use of 
one of the school colors (crimson) to frame the doorways. This new 
modern look was a departure from the turn-of-the-century 
ambiance that originally marked the area. The corridors were the 
primary gathering place for students between classes, a tradition of 
more than a century in duration. While that practice continues, use 
of classrooms has changed. In addition to lecture rooms, this hall 
now also opens onto computer laboratories, a faculty lounge, 
seminar room, and multi-media classrooms. Presently, as in 
previous years, the second floor of this building provides the 
principal area for classes and other academic pursuits. 

student chapeL 

The Chapel of the Guardian Angels, at the northwest corner of the 
College Building (third floor), was dedicated in 1898. It allowed 
students (with permission) to have access at all hours to a 
specifically religious place, to pray before the Blessed Sacrament, 
and to have a more convenient location for daily Mass. A statue of 
Saint Aloysius Gonzaga (1569-1591), patron of young men and 
students, stood at the dexter altar. 

the fiRst auditoRium 

Until the first auditorium was created on 
the second floor of the College Building 
in 1888, assemblies were held in the 
monastery chapel. In this photograph, 
the College Building's new auditorium is 
festooned for a civics lecture and 
election-day assembly. 

An age op quowth 

The abrupt ending of each new wing of the College Building signaled the fact that the Abbey was not yet finished growing. This 
photograph shows the west end (at right) of the 1888 section. Notice that only two of the three wings of the monastery (stretching 
behind the church) have been completed. The evergreen (shown at center), called the "Crescat Tree," was the inspiration for the 
monastery's coat-of-arms (see page 101), first sketched by Father Felix Hintemeyer, O.S.B., in 1886. 


The youngest 
students, called 
"Minims," occupied a 
dormitory at the 
southwest end of the 
College Building, 
opposite the students' 
chapel. Their 
sleeping room was 
furnished with brass 
beds and maintained 
with strict disciplinary 
standards. To ensure 
that students' 
industry would not 
be compromised, 
Minims were not 
allowed to enter the 
dormitory during the 
day. This 
photograph was 
taken in 1900, just 
prior to the May 19 
fire that virtually 
destroyed the 


section v 

vision and BRea6th 
of education 

Abbot Leo Haid. He characterized Benedictine 
education as a "thorough education." 

"Thorough" referred to more than breadth of studies, 
although that was present too. According to Haid, the 
college was to offer an integrated environment that 
would address a student's intellect, body, soul and 
spirit. The scholars at Belmont would be "fitted for the 
world, and still more for the world to come." 

Students at Belmont Abbey were to be exposed to a 
variety of experiences. Blended with daily Mass and 
religious instruction were athletics; the fine and 
performing arts — theatre, art, music; forensics; 
strenuous academics in the classrooms and library; and 
the physical work of the farm. Together these 
experiences contributed to the education of the whole 

Well into the College's second century of existence, 
Haid's concept of education serves as a key element of 
the College's mission: to provide young men and 
women with a Catholic, Benedictine, liberal arts 


at Belmont Abbey College came from the 
intellect, imagination and spirituality of 


oiveRse education 

With the construction of Saint Leo Hall, the College 
articulated a distinctive statement of Haid's philosophy 
of "thorough education." This composite (1907) was 
meant to suggest the scope of Saint Mary's College. 
Clockwise from top are Saint Leo Hall, Saint Leo's 
gymnasium, a baseball game, the Dramatic Hall in Saint 
Leo, tennis game, Field Day, and team handball. 

opus dei 

The third president of the College, Abbot 
Vincent Taylor, was determined that the 
monks' hours of prayer would be open to 
the public and, in particular, available to 
the students. In 1943, the monastic 
choirstalls were positioned in the 
sanctuary of the Abbey Cathedral, thus 
allowing full attendance by students and 
laity at the monks' Opus Dei ("the work 
of God"). In this photograph (above) 
from the 1950' s, the choirstalls can be 
seen behind Father Raphael Bridge (1923- 
1996), who is preaching at the ambo. 

the seminARy division 

When Father Leo Haid, O.S.B., was elected abbot in 1885, one of his first decisions was to assign Father Felix Hintemeyer, O.S.B., to 
special studies, preparing him to teach in the planned Seminary at Belmont. The school opened a philosophy division in 1886, which 
expanded that same year into a full theological course. In 1890, by which time Haid was also bishop of all of North Carolina, the 
Seminary was expanded to include diocesan seminarians as well as monks. In this photograph (1907), the seminarians in birettas are 
diocesan; the others are monks. Those seated in front are (left to right) the principle teachers in the Seminary, Father Alphonse Buss, 
O.S.B., and Father Prior Felix Hintemeyer, O.S.B. At their right is Father Michael Mclnerney, O.S.B., who was ordained a priest that 


Mardi Gras 

Mardi Gras evening 1914 was celebrated in the Saint Leo Hall gymnasium. 
Costumes were de rigueur. Skits, refreshments, and competitions completed 
the occasion. The next day, as Lent began, each student met individually with a 
priest to have his proposed Lenten penances approved. The students also 
accepted a common penance to be observed by all; through the years, these 
mortifications varied from eliminating desserts to devoting spending money to 
missionaries in the Congo. 

vARiety of puRposes 

Saint Leo Hall (right) did more 
than reflect the diversity of an 
Abbey education; it suggested her 
beauty. As designed by Father 
Michael Mclnerney, a Belmont 

monk, it featured high ornamental tin ceilings, windows of varied designs (below, left), and facilities for music, photography, calligraphy, 
dramatics, gymnastics, even billiards. The second floor featured an orchestra hall on the west side, with music studios and practice rooms 

on the east. The building also housed professors' studios where lessons were 
given in piano, string instruments, brass, woodwinds, and percussives. In 
1988, the building was completely renovated and restored. 

SAint Leo Library 

After construction of the Haid Gymnasium (1929-1930), Saint Leo's 
gym was used for storage, dances and student organizations 
(especially publications). In 1939, Father Michael Mclnerney 
redesigned the space to serve as the Abbey library (seen here). 
There, for the first time, the library had regular hours, a 
professional staff, and the availability of a full reference collection. 



Saint Leo Hall's gymnasium (seen 
here with its particularly well-dressed 
clientele) was adaptable to diverse 
activities, especially gymnastics. 
Students gathered here for social 
events, too, and whenever free space 
was needed for indoor games or 
activities. In the 1920' s, when the first 
basketball team began competing, the 
Abbey amassed an imposing record 
of victories. The six poles that 
interrupted the court are supposed to 
have inspired a member of an 
opponent's squad to protest the 
Abbey's "six extra players." 

qeoRqe heundl 

As the College grew, assignment of schedules 
required a larger setting. The Gallagher 
Lounge was the site of this 1961 registration. 
The professor at the desk is Mr. (later Dr.) 
George Herndl. He was to be a driving force 
in campus life for more than 36 years. Herndl 
chaired the English Department and 
Humanities division, oversaw re-accreditation 
studies; he even spent a year as interim 
academic dean. Upon his retirement in 1994, 
Herndl was named Professor Emeritus of 
English. Even in retirement, he remained 
close to the Abbey, editing the national 
journal of Delta Epsilon Sigma (the honor 
society in academics) from his Abbey address. 

qallaqheR memoRial Lounge 

The Robert Gallagher Memorial Lounge, dedicated on January 4, 1959, provided 
a new, dignified setting for student gatherings, such as the annual reception for 
freshmen and their parents. This lounge, featuring the high ceiling and elegant 
windows originally created for the Saint Leo gymnasium, became a favored place 
for conversation and meetings, a center of campus life. The lounge was named 
for the late brother (pictured on wall, top right) of Edward F. Gallagher, an 
Abbeyman of 1927-1931, who throughout his life was among the Abbey's most 
prominent supporters. A founding member of the College's Board of Advisors 
(1951)— and twice its chairman—he later became one of the first laymen to serve 
on the Board of Trustees of the College (1977). 

BiLLiARds Room 

The billiards room in Saint Leo Hall was so popular with the students that an 
elaborate system of scheduling games had to be devised. The Abbey Students' 

Association even imposed penalties on students who did not limit themselves 
to the time reserved. Signifying the importance Abbeymen associated with the 
Billiards Hall, they placed President Calvin Coolidge's photograph (on wall, left 

of cues) on display there. 



Father Anselm Biggs, O.S.B. 
(b.1914), first came to the 
Abbey from West Virginia as a 
student. While his classmates 
welcomed his skill at 
basketball and his sharp wit, faculty recognized and nurtured his 
keen intellect, scholarly aptitude, and facility with languages. After 
earning a distinguish academic record in the College at Belmont, 
Biggs entered the monastery (1933) and was ordained a priest 
(1940). He later earned a doctorate in history and devoted his life 
to his Benedictine vocation and the work of the College. Father 
Anselm's teaching career extended more than 60 years; he was 
academic dean; and in summers he taught at The Catholic 
University of America. Biggs also published extensively and did 
translations for major historical works and the International 
Commission on English in the Liturgy. 

schoU cantoRum 

Liturgical life is central to the Benedictine experience, and the 
Abbey made it integral to the students' as well. A series of 
monk-musicians — Fathers Francis Underwood, Adelard 
Bouvilliers, and Kenneth Geyer — saw that the students were 
exposed to Gregorian Chant and familiarized with the classical 
tradition. In this photograph, Father Kenneth directs the 
monks' Schola Caritorum in the transept of the Abbey Cathedral 
during a 1953 Mass. The students also had a chorus; this one 
[below] is from 1895. 


Boys and monks worked together to bring in the hay each autumn in 
the first half-century at the Abbey. To later generations, the farm 
(which came to focus upon cattle, swine, and fowl more than staples) 
was more removed. However, the presence of the monks' farm 
underscored the rural setting of the campus. Early advertisements for 
the College boasted of Belmont's "proverbially healthy [climate where 
the student is] seldom obliged to spend one hour of his recreation in- 
doors." The farm was closed progressively during the first years 
following accreditation of the Senior College. 

^0 ONE 





Father Kenneth Geyer, O.S.B., teaching French language and 

academic Life 

The varied academic life of the Abbey called 
for a balance between contact with professors, 
interaction with fellow-Abbeymen, and 
independent study. Student organizations, 
especially publications and forensics, 
provided opportunities for articulating the 
fruit of a maturing intellect. 

Student Government officers and publications leaders in their 
office in Saint Leo Hall (early 1960's). 

Students in Saint Leo Hall dormitory (1950's). 

Evening studying (1980's). 


fatheR B€RtRAn6 pAttison, obI.s.b. 

Faculty members at the Abbey were encouraged to use their varied 
talents and interests in concert with those of the students. Father 
Bertrand Pattison, Obl.S.B. (1909-1992), exemplified this tradition. As 
a professor he taught philosophy, theology, anthropology/ 
sociology, history, even astronomy. Students also learned from him 
outside the classroom. Father Bertrand was an artist who painted, 
did bookbinding (seen here in 1988), worked in film, oversaw the 
photography lab and assisted with plays. As an administrator, 
Pattison oversaw the first public-relations office on campus and 
coordinated alumni relations. In his last years, Pattison turned to 
work with videotape and computers. 

fAtheR cuthBeRt Allen, o.s.b. 

Father Cuthbert Allen, O.S.B. (1906-1977), 
although instrumental in broadening the 
Abbey's contacts and influence, kept his 
students—both present and alumni— as his central 
interest. Father John Oetgen wrote, Father 
Cuthbert "was above all a teacher: In the 
classroom and, perhaps, more importantly, 
outside the formality of a classroom assembly. 
During the recreational hours . . . Abbeymen 
delighted to gather around Father Cuthbert in 
the Tuck Shop, later in the Coffee Shop, to be 
illumined by his informative comments on 
contemporary issues and to be entertained by 
his enormous wit. In these informal sessions it 
was always Father Cuthbert's custom to throw 
out topics for reflection to be reported on in 
succeeding sessions. He became a campus 
gadfly, stimulating continual discussion of 
fundamental questions: 'Who are you?' 'Justify 
your existence.' 'Why should I respect you?' 
Many a prep student, many a college senior, 
struggled to respond." This photograph (Father 
Cuthbert is seated at desk) is from 1931. 

basiI whiteneR [19831 

Congressman Basil Whitener (1915-1989) was the first layman to chair the 
College's Board of Trustees (1978-1983). But his association with the 
College pre-dated that office by more than a quarter-century. Whitener 
graciously suggested that the greatest deficit in his background was 
remedied in 1959, when, upon receipt of an LL.D., honoris causa, he 
became an Abbey alumnus. 

3 I 

SAint Benedict school 

In 1894, upon the opening of the new Abbey 
Church of Maryhelp, Saint Benedict Church on 
the Abbey's property was converted to an 
elementary school for blacks, who were barred 
from attending the county's segregated 
academies for white children. Father Melchior 
Reichert, O.S.B., oversaw the school, while Sisters 
of Mercy from Sacred Heart taught the classes. 
Oral tradition reports that complaints were 
received from local residents who thought it 
inappropriate that the Abbey encouraged its 
(white) students to assist with the upkeep and 
groundskeeping of a site used by African 
Americans. Nonetheless, the students' work 
continued unabated. 

r f # #. $ 



vision of education 

Haid's successor as abbot and president was Abbot-Ordinary Vincent Taylor, O.S.B. (above, right), who brought the College into the 
modern age. In 1928 the school was reorganized to have only a preparatory academy, junior college, and seminary. To strengthen the 
institution further, he affiliated the College with The Catholic University of America (1930), created a modern research library (1939), 
employed laymen on the faculty (1929), nurtured inter-collegiate athletics, and sent monks to earn advanced degrees, until in 1952 
Belmont Abbey College was restored to Senior College status. The school was fully accredited as a four-year liberal-arts college in 1957 
and became co-educational for residential students in 1973. In 1994, the College again added graduate programs. 

3 2 

section vi 

QROWth Of 



the twentieth centimy 

brought new standards to the realm of 
higher education. The Abbey met the 
challenge by invigorating the scholarship 
of both faculty and students. Abbeymen were exposed 
to lay faculty as well as members of the monastery. 
Offerings and majors multiplied; extracurricular 
offerings increased; students' free hours were diverted 
from volunteer efforts on farm and building projects, 
to the library and organizations based upon academic 

After returning to senior college status in 1952, 
Belmont Abbey had the painful task of closing its 80- 
year-old preparatory school (1956) [see page 40]. With 
the academy's closing, the College for the first time in 
its history focused its efforts solely on college-age 


Father John Bradley, Obl.S.B., came to the 
Abbey in the 1950's as a professor of 
philosophy. He left to work in publishing, then 
returned in 1970 as president. 

Father Adelard Bouvilliers, O.S.B. (1887- 
1950), is best known as the premiere 
musician of Belmont, but he was also one 
of the most widely published monks 
among those who did original 

distinguished fAcuLty 

The Abbey's professors have been 
known for their commitment as 
well as their erudition. Indeed, the 
College has weighed its faculty 
members by their embrace of the 
values and character of the 
institution as surely as by their 
scholarship. Always concerned 
with the environment of learning 
— with the fraternity, study, 
religion, the common and 
edifying experience of life lived 
together — the leaders of the 
College have sought professors 
who reflect these same standards. 

Father Paul Milde, O.S.B. (1895-1979), 
was the founder of both the 
Department of Education and the 
basketball team. He also taught 
speech, homiletics, English, and 
wrote extensively. 

Father (later abbot) Peter Stragand, 
O.S.B., was a mathematician. Long before 
computers were common possessions, he 
was encouraging Abbey students to 
become conversant with them. 

When in March of 1970 Father Edmund McCaffrey was elected the 
fourth abbot of Belmont, his dedication to the College led him to 
continue his full teaching schedule through the end of the semester. 
McCaffrey taught in the Department of Political Science. 


Lawrence Walsh came to the Abbey's Sociology 
Department before he had finished his 
dissertation on the Catholic Worker movement. 
Walsh brought great credit to the school by his 
activism in regard to social issues and in the 
example he gave students. In particular, he 
campaigned against abortion and sought to 
advance integrity in all aspects of Christian life, 
all dimensions of campus life. 

Father Placid Solari, O.S.B., who 
had the privilege of knowing the 
Abbey even in youth, was the first 
monk of Belmont to take a 
doctorate in patristics. In this 
photograph, Solari (vested in vimpa 
at left) was acting as a mitre-bearer 
in 1970. 

Father Bernard Rosswog, O.S.B. (at 
lectern), held a doctorate in theology 
and licentiate in Canon Law. As rector 
of all three schools (preparatory, 
collegiate, seminary), he was present to 
Abbeymen of all ages. It was he who 
shepherded the Abbey's return to 
Senior College status. Robert Preston, 
later to serve as the College's president, 
is the cleric on the left. 

Abbot Walter Coggin, O.S.B. graduated from the Abbey as valedictorian and eventually took his 
doctorate in philosophy at The Catholic University of America. He also coached athletics and 
taught mathematics. In addition to his long teaching and administrative career at the Abbey, he 
served as president of the North Carolina Philosophical Association. 

Paul Neal, Belmont high school 
teacher, principal, superintendent 
and play director, joined the 
Abbey faculty during World War 
II to relieve the crucial need for 
instructors created by that 
conflict. He brought widespread 
recognition to the campus for his 
productions in dramatics. 


Father Raphael Arthur, O.S.B. (1887-1941), seated at left, taught any number of 
subjects, but was known primarily as professor of English literature and writing. At 
right is Father Francis Underwood, O.S.B. (1885-1947), who expanded the music 
curriculum beyond its emphasis on applied music to include history of composition 
and general musicology. 

John Hanahan, Jr., (left) professor of geosciences, was a leader in initiating 
the College's early program in Environmental Sciences. For generations of 
alumni he provided on-going contact with the school. 

Marie-Louise Rahier (above) transformed the 
teaching of languages at the Abbey, 
incorporating into her classes recordings, 
visuals, and the study of a country's culture. 
Her speciality was French. Father Lawrence 
Willis (below, left) continued the multi-media 
approach, expanding it from languages to 
theology, mythology, and making his 
resources available to other departments. 

David J. Gorney (1906/7-1961), a man of varied talents, taught 
English, Public Speaking, and supervised any number of 
student activities. He also acted as the college's Registrar. 
Perhaps his most enduring accomplishment was lending new 
life to the Abbey Players, increasing the frequency of 
productions and expanding the types of plays offered. 

3 6 

Benedict R. Berry, 
specialized in ethics and 
philosophical psychology. 
He assisted Father Walter 
Coggin in bringing fresh 
intellectual integrity to 
the Department of 
Philosophy and making 
philosophical inquiry and, 
in particular, the study of 
logic, integral to the 

Michael Reidy created the department of Recreational 
Studies. As a coach and the College's Athletic Director, in 
more than a quarter century of service, he oversaw a 
varied departmental curriculum and innovative programs 
of professional studies in sports services. 

Michael McLeod (above) took over the Biology 
Department in the 1970's and gave it new 
strength and life. Assembling distinguished 
colleagues like Dr. Elizabeth Baker (below) as co- 
workers, he brought fresh eminence to scientific 
studies at the Abbey. McLeod was also active 
with the Abbey Players, assisted the Academic 
Dean, and was Dean of Students. 

Sister Annella Lynn, R.S.M., was but one of 
the distinguished professors and 
administrators from Sacred Heart to work at 
the Abbey. Holding a doctorate from The 
Catholic University of America, Sister Annella 
chaired the Department of Sociology. 

Francis T. Murray was a 
specialist in Latin American 
history. When he assumed 
the chairmanship of the 
Department of History, 
Murray continued the 
scholarly standards and 
curricular diversity of his 
predecessor, Father Anselm 
Biggs. He also developed a 
program of history 
internships and initiated a 
series of visits to the campus 
by past history majors and 
current scholars. 


Jean Moore, an Abbey alumna, taught in the Department of English. 
Her specialty was the fiction of James Joyce. Mrs. Moore was a 
person of rare creativity, who nurtured original works of poetry and 
prose by her students and communicated a deep appreciation of the 
beauty of the English language. She was also active in local theatre, 
including the Abbey Players. In this photograph, Moore is 
surrounded by her departmental colleagues in 1967. 

schoL\RS an6 AdministRAtORS 

The autumn of 1960 witnessed a new age in the College. 
Abbot Walter Coggin, O.S.B., had become head of the 
Monastery, chancellor of the College, and Ordinary of the 
nullius 'diocese.' Father Anselm Biggs, O.S.B., was the new 
academic dean, and Father John Oetgen, O.S.B., became 
president. This placed some of the most penetrating intellects 
at Belmont in charge of the school—one with a doctorate in 
philosophy, one in history, and the other a distinguished 
professor of English literature. Academic standards were 
strengthened and the curriculum enriched; campus life also 
changed. Oetgen and Biggs welcomed a series of 
distinguished speakers to campus and arranged diverse 
cultural events. Dormitory life was re-located and changed in 
character, and the students saw a revised philosophy of 
discipline inaugurated. Oetgen's insight was that the maturity 
of the Abbeymen should be respected, their judgement 
nurtured, and their religious, moral and intellectual formation 

C>R. QllBGRt fARLey 

One of the most innovative programs of the College was Distribution 
Management, founded by Drs. Bill Kirk (left) and Gilbert Farley (right), 
as part of the Department of Business and Economics. As led by Farley, 
business studies at Belmont acquired a national reputation for their 
thoroughness and integration. Employers learned that Abbey 
graduates not only had knowledge; they had the savoir-faire and 
wherewithal for careers in business and commerce. Farley would 
require his students to dress for class as they would for a day at work in 
the world of business. He gave lessons in professional etiquette, and 
held practice sessions for job interviews. Long before there was a 
Placement Office in the College, Farley saw that Abbey students were 
prepared to enter their professions with elan and maturity. 


science BUiL6mq Annex 

Abbot Vincent was determined that the natural sciences be 
improved by the provision of modern facilities and 
equipment. In 1954 the Science Building Annex [top left] 
(later re-named the Music Building) was constructed, with 
space for classes in physics, biology and chemistry. Above, 
Sister Bernadette Brennan, R.S.M., from Sacred Heart 
Convent, is leading a biology class of Abbeymen. At left 
Father Bonaventure Denk, O.S.B., and Dr. Joseph A. 
Matthews lead chemistry students in their research. 

honoR societies 

From the earliest days of the College, 
honor societies were formed to 
recognize academic attainment, and to 
gather an "elite body of serious 
students in gentlemanly society" (a 
concept expanded with co-education in 
the 1970's). The Piedmont Club was 
pre-eminent among these, with Nu 
Omega fulfilling a similar purpose. In 
modern times, honor societies were led 
by Delta Epsilon Sigma for academics, 
and accompanied by separate societies 
in philosophy, the social sciences, 
biology, accounting, and other fields. 
A tradition in these societies is the 
induction of monks and faculty to 
ensure continuity of traditions and to 
recognize and reflect the common life 
of the Abbey campus. In these 
photographs, Nu Omega (above, 
right) poses in 1909 and Pi Gamma Mu 
(right) in 1988. 


pcepaRatoay school 

The preparatory academy (1876-1956) took high-school age boys and 
initiated them into the scholarship of Benedictine education and the 
values characteristic of Abbey life. Its closing was required by the 
accrediting bodies, which insisted upon separate facilities for Preparatory 
and College students. If executed, such a division would have 
undermined the Abbey's initial insight, whereby collegians were present 
among the younger students to set an example and to encourage their 
work, athletics, studies, and maturity. In this photograph, Father Eugene 
Kusterer, O.S.B., is teaching young Latinists in the academy's last 
semester. Kusterer was also active in directing dramas, the Abbey 
Reviews, and the College singers, known as the Chanticleers. 

academic competitions 

Another aspect of intellectual growth at the Abbey is academic competitions. Foremost among these was the Forensic Arts Society 
which fostered debates, "dialogues" (the forerunner of plays on campus), student elocutions and recitations. In the first fifty years of 
the school, being selected to participate in a debate was one of the premier honors on campus. Although attendance was optional, the 
minutes of nineteenth century debates record attendance by the full complement of students and professors. Topics ranged from 
issues in the news to moral questions, historical disputes, political contentions, and philosophical propositions. Leather-bound ledgers 
(below) were commissioned to preserve the records of these early debates. 

Debate champions George Horner 
and Ray Smith. 

Father John officiating at "College Bowl" 

affiliation with the catholic univeRSity of amenica 

Belmont Abbey College won affiliation with The Catholic University of America in 
1930. This status required the Abbey to meet and maintain certain stringent 
academic, curricular, and administrative standards. The benefits of affiliation were 
two-fold. First, in those days before accreditation it provided greater recognition 
and substance to the Abbey degree. Second, it allowed Belmont students in 
approved programs to transfer more readily to The Catholic University for 
completion of their undergraduate education. This affiliation was another stage in 
Abbot Vincent's design to bring the College into the world of modern educational 
standards. Affiliation was suggested by Father Rector Stanislaus Bethel, O.S.B. and 
completed under Father Rector Cornelius Selhuber, O.S.B. [see page 43]. 

section vii 

the Leaders 


Belmont ABBey has Been 


blessed with a collection of gifted leaders 
from Archabbot Boniface Wimmer in 1876 
to the present day. For the first 80 years, 

the abbot served as the chief executive of both the 
College and the Monastery, and was titled president of 
the College. His chief administrator bore the title of 
rector; he handled the school's day-to-day operations. 
In 1956 the titles changed. The chief executive assumed 
the title of chancellor of the College, while the chief 
administrator became known as the president. The title 
rector was eliminated. These presidents (chancellors) 
and rectors (presidents) worked efficiently as teams 
dedicated to educating "Abbeymen" (as they came to 
be known) and preparing them for adult life. Many, 
such as Abbot Walter Coggin and Father Cuthbert Allen, 
were called upon for repeated service: Abbot Walter as 
president twice (briefly in 1956, then again in 1964-1967) 
and chancellor twice (1956-1959, 1960-1970); Father 
Cuthbert as rector twice (1936-1942, 1945-1947) and 
president once (1956-1960). Abbot Walter was also the 
first abbot to serve as both chancellor and president at 
the same time (1964-1967). In addition, numerous 
monks have worn the mantle of leadership for a few 
days or months until elections or appointments 
provided permanent leadership. 

4 1 

Father Herman Wolfe, 
rector 1876-1878 

Father Stephen Lyons, 
rector 1878-1881 

Archabbot Boniface Wimmer, O.S.B. 
president 1876-1884/5 

Father Alban Rudrof, 
rector 1881-1882 

(photo courtesy of 
Saint Benedict Abbey) 

Father Edwin Pierron, 
rector 1882-1884 

(photo courtesy of 
Saint Vincent Arcfiabbey) 

Father Julius Pohl, 
rector 1884-1893 

The founder of the Benedictine presence in the United States, Abbot Boniface Wimmer, sent the first monks to North Carolina to found 
the Belmont monastery and school. However, he never resided here. Wimmer and all his rectors were monks of St. Vincent's Abbey 
(now archabbey) in Latrobe, PA, with the exception of Rudrof, a monk of St. Benedict's Abbey in Kansas. 

O S B - Oestreich, O.S.B. Abbot-Bishop Leo M. Haid, O.S.B. 

rector 1908-1909 rector 1909-1924 president 1885-1924 

Haid has the distinction of having the longest term as president (39 years). His rectors established a number of "firsts." Haas was part 
of the first class of novices at Belmont Abbey and Buchholz and Oestreich were the first monks to be sent to Rome for graduate 
studies. Oestrich was also the first monk and member of the faculty to earn a Roman doctorate. He, along with Father Julius Pohl, co- 
founded the Abbey library. 

4 2 

Father Cuthbert Allen, Father Bede Lightner, Father Cuthbert Allen, Father Bernard Rosswog, 

O.S.B. O.S.B. O.S.B. O.S.B. 

rector 1936-1942 rector 1942-1945 rector 1945-1947 rector 1947-1956 

Under Abbot Vincent's presidency, the College conformed to modern educational standards. Of special note among his rectors were 
Selhuber, who oversaw the school's re-definition as a junior-college (1928), and Rosswog, the chief architect of the Abbey's return to 
senior-college status (1952). Rosswog was also the first monk in modern times to earn a doctorate. 

Upon his confirmation as 
vicar to the abbot in April 
1956, Coggin spent two 
months as president of 
the College; he was the 
first non-abbot to lead 
the institution and the 
first president who held 
an earned doctorate. 
Soon after officiating at 
graduation that year, he 
re-organized the school. 
In re-structuring the 
administration of the 
College, Coggin (as head 
of the Monastery) 
became the first 
chancellor. He assigned 
the presidency to Father 
Cuthbert Allen, making 
him the first president 
who was not also head of 
the Monastery. 
Under Abbot Walter, the 
1960's witnessed 
unprecedented growth in 
the College's facilities. In 
1964, Coggin became the 
first abbot to serve as 
chancellor and president 

Father Walter A. 
Coggin, O.S.B. 
president 1956 

Father Walter A. Coggin, 
chancellor 1956-1959 

Father Cuthbert Allen 

president 1956-1960 


^B^re^ -mm' 


Father John Oetgen, 

president 1960-1964 

Abbot Walter Coggin, 
president 1964-1967 

Father Jude Cleary, 

O.S " 
president 1967-1970 

Abbot Walter A. Coggin, O.S. 
chancellor 1960-1970 


Abbot Edmund F. McCaffrey, O.S.B. 
chancellor 1970-1975 

Abbot Peter N. Stragand, O.S.B. 
chancellor 1978-1988 

Father John Bradley, 

president 1970-1978 

Father John Bradley was the 
first president who was only 
an oblate of the Abbey rather 
than a professed monk. 

Abbot Jude G. Cleary, O.S.B. 
chancellor 1975-1978 

Abbot Peter Stragand, 

(acting) president 1981 

Dr. Robert Howard 
(interim) president 

Dr. John Dempsey 
president 1982-1989 

The only non-Catholic and first lay 
president, Dr. Robert Howard 
served a one-year term while the 
College searched for a new 

Dr. Edward Henry 
(interim) president 

Father Timothy 
Kelly, who served as 
administrator of the 
Monastery for three 
years, also acted as 
chancellor of the 

Dr. Joseph Brosnan 
president 1990-1994 

Abbot Oscar C. Burnett, 
chancellor 1991- 

Father Timothy T. Kelly, O.S.B. 
chancellor 1989-1991 

Father Neil Tobin 
president 1978-1981 

Father Neil Tobin, a 
priest of the 
Archdiocese of 
Dubuque (IA), was the 
first president to have 
no previous 
Benedictine ties. 

4 4 

Dr. Robert Preston 
president 1995- 

Abbot Oscar Burnett, 
(acting) president 
("chief executive 
officer") 1994-1995 

Burnett used the title 
chief executive officer 
during his year of 
service as acting 
president. Dr. 
Preston has the 
distinction of being 
the first lay alumnus 
of the College to 
serve as president. 

section vin 

Benedictine Life 


$ $ o o o 

the motto of Belmont 

Deus ("that in all things God may be 
glorified"). [See page 102]. Like so much of the College's 
character, it is drawn from Saint Benedict's Rule. The 
founders at Belmont had this phrase imprinted in the 
catalogue and upon the orientation given new students. 
Abbot-Bishop Leo Haid invoked it repeatedly, 
especially when officiating at the ceremonials for new 
buildings. When the Abbey Church was built and 
situated at the center of the campus, its cornerstone was 
engraved with "U.I.O.G.D.," to indicate the College's 
motto. Father Prior Felix Hintemeyer said that this 
cornerstone would be a perpetual reminder to monks 
and students that they shared a motto, and thus an 
aspiration and character. 

Abbey College is ut in omnibus glorificetur 



The monastery was built in three wings (1880, 1891, 
1894) extending from Stowe Hall northward, passing 
behind the church. Its portico (1902) was designed as 
a porte cochere. There, Abbot-Bishop Haid would await 
the arrival of guests' carriages, then appear through 
the double doors in welcome. In 1993, through the 
beneficence of the Gallagher family, the main entrance 
of the monastery was refurbished with the installation 
of mahogany doors bearing leaded glass windows 
that feature the coats-of-arms of the abbey and nullius 
and the placement of a life-sized statue of Benedict 
(below left) inside the doorway to welcome visitors. 

house chapel 

The old monastery chapel (above right) was used 
for the hours of the Divine Office and for the 
devotions of the Brothers; the infirmary Mass was 
held there daily, as were a variety of other services. 
It also allowed for visits to the Blessed Sacrament at 
any hour of the day or night. The last formal use of 
the Chapel by the entire monastic community was 
on 22 July 1975, when Father Jude G. Cleary, O.S.B., 
was elected the fifth abbot-nullius of Belmont. The 
following year, the monks renovated the 
monastery, re-allocating the original space as 
infirmary rooms. The revised Chapel of Maryhelp 
(right), which was not completed until 1980, 
featured unique furnishings by Robert Kopf. 


mom\stic community 
Benedictine monasticism is 
based upon a family model. 
The abbot is father of the 
coenobium, with the monks as 
his sons. Yet the internal 
ordering of the Monastery, its 
"statio," does not respect age. 
Instead, precedence is based 
upon the chronology of each 
monk's response to the call of 
God. Saint Benedict says that 
one who came to the 
monastery at the first hour 
takes precedence over one who 
came at the second hour. 

Monks in 1910 at Leo Haid's 
silver jubilee as abbot. 

Monks in 1924 
at the election 
of Vincent 
Taylor as 
second abbot. 

Monks in 1952 at 
annual retreat. 


Abbot Vincent with the brothers. 

Brothers Simon (far right) and Felix 
(second from left) Keilhacker with 
their visiting brother (second from 
right) who would soon become 
Brother Ignatius, accompanied by 
Brother Boniface Schreiber (far left). 


The Brothers of the 
monastery have always 
represented the stability of 
Benedictine life and the 
diversity of its under- 
takings. Like the Priests, 
Brothers are obliged to 
hours of common prayer, to 
formation through classes 
and study, and to the 
common life. Before the 
Priests and Brothers were 
integrated, the Brothers 
mostly devoted themselves 
to the support services of 
the monastery, filling any 
job required by the Abbey 
family. As the institution 
matured, Brothers moved 
into the classrooms and into 
administrative work. 
Brother Gregory Corcoran 
was the first brother to be 
chaplain to the students; 
Brother Paul Shanley was 
first to be a superior of the 

Brother Louis Marschall watering plants 
in the Monastery. 




pARm Labor 

On the farm, especially at harvest, the Brothers were joined 
by laymen and even local youths for the labor at hand. As 
seen here [left] (c. 1912), they gathered for a photograph 
before the beginning of the day's work. 

Second floor corridor before the renovation. 

Third floor corridor after the renovation. 

monasteRy Renovation (19761 

The Monastery at Belmont underwent various renovations and adaptations through the years, but not until the 
centenary of monastic life in Carolina was there a complete revision of the building. On the Solemnity of 
Maryhelp, 24 May 1976, while diocesan clergy and religious assembled on campus to celebrate the school's 
centennial, the monks began moving out of their ordinary cells. Their interim housing was spread among the 
Administration Building, Brothers' Building, dormitories, and space made available at Sacred Heart College. In 
1977, the monks returned to the completely renovated cloister. 

Community room after the renovation. 

Typical monk's cell after the renovation. 

Community life. Here the novices are seen at Christmas (1915). 

Manual labor. 

Meals are taken in 
common in the 

Each monk shares in 
household responsibilities. 
Here Father Gregory 
Eichenlaub sets out for 

monastic Life 

The life of the monks is varied, 
involving prayer, study, 
common life, manual work, 
care of the sick and elderly. 
Because the Benedictines 
model themselves upon a 
family, theirs is a life of mutual 
support and care. Occupations 
are as varied as the men 


m Ay devotions 

Each evening in May, the monks gather in the Grotto of Our 
Lady of Lourdes for devotions. The Grotto was built in 1891, in 
thanksgiving for the cure of Father Francis Meyer, O.S.B., from 
typhoid fever. Blessed as a Pilgrimage Shrine, the Grotto was 
designated for the special purpose of praying for vocations. 

divine office 

The common prayer of the monks is called opus 
dei, the "work of God." It begins each day with 
the Psalmist's invocation, "O Lord, open my 
lips," followed by the response, "And my mouth 
shall proclaim Your praise." In the evening, at 
the end of the monks' 
daily common prayer, the 
Benedictines turn in their 
choirstalls to face the 
statue of Mary, Help of 
Christians, high on the 
east wall. They sing the 
Marian Antiphon, then; 
whereafter, the abbot 
blesses the monks with 
Holy Water. 


The priest-monks of Belmont have been active in pastoral and 
missionary work throughout their time in North Carolina. 
Some served in parishes, others ministered on campus. 
Monks were sent to found monasteries in Florida, Georgia, 
Virginia, to fill military and convent chaplaincies, and perform 
other priestly work. Alumni, too, have sought the priestly 
assistance of the monks, for baptisms, weddings and other 
occasions. At the wedding pictured, Father Cuthbert Allen 
officiated, assisted by Fathers John Oetgen (to the left of 
Father Cuthbert) and Martin Hayes (right of Father 

RefeCtORV 11906] 

This photograph shows the monastic refectory, decorated for 
Christmas in 1906. Today, as then, at the evening meal a monk takes 
the lectern (center left), wherefrom he reads a section of Benedict's 
Rule. That is followed by a reading from a book selected by the prior 
or abbot. As the meal ends, the reader turns to that day's portion of 
the Memorabilia Beltnontana, a collection of remembrances of historical 
and community events at the Abbey. 


section ix 

against the odds 


despite Being supported 

by faith and strengthened by clarity of 
purpose and determination, the College's 
course has not been either straight or easy. 
When the early monks arrived (1876), they found a 
poor farm and dilapidated buildings. Awaiting more 
solid prospects, they resisted building any permanent 
(brick) structures until 1880, and even then they thought 
a solid, granite foundation might not be required (given 
the limited prospects for success in Gaston County). One 
concern was the sparcity of local Catholics, both in 
Belmont and in North Carolina as a whole. Students 
were slow to come; vocations to the monastery were 
few. As Abbot Boniface Wimmer noted when first 
sending monks to Carolina, prospects were so dim that 
only faith could secure the Benedictine presence in 

Over the years, the obstacles and difficulties have 
taken other forms including tornadoes, an earthquake, 
fires and even a hurricane. Yet the Abbey has remained 
stable and secure in every storm, sustained by God. 

5 3 

LoyAl woRkeRS 

Part of the success of 
the Abbey must be 
traced to her loyal core 
of workers. There are 
people like Cecilia 
Alexander in the 
kitchen, Alice Duff as 
tailor, Ray Harrelson, 
Jim Hope, Willie Lowe, 
Madge McCall, Pauline 
Shipp; the list could 
extend for pages. 
Among these friends 
and co-workers was 
Roscoe Bowens 
(pictured, 1956) known 
to generations of 
students, monks, and 
faculty for both his 
competence and his 
kindness toward all 
who worked with him. 

guidance thRouqh the depRession 

Father Nicholas Bliley, O.S.B. (at left, with Father Gerard 
Rettger, O.S.B.), held a number of positions including prior of 
the Monastery, subprior, master-of-ceremonies at liturgies, 
professor, canon lawyer, and master of the farm. As 
procurator of the Monastery (1923-1925 and again 1929-1943), 
he saw that the finances of both the Monastery and College 
were wisely stewarded and moderately applied throughout 
the Great Depression. 

pinancial stABility 

Father Ignatius Remke, O.S.B., spent much of his 
career traveling among assignments at Belmont's 
dependent monasteries and schools. His mission 
was to create financial stability and sound 
accounting practices at each location. As 
procurator at the Abbey 1908-1922, he brought the 
school into its first period without major debt. 

discipline And spiRit 

Father (later abbot) Oscar Burnett, O.S.B., was one of the 
Abbey's most noted Deans of Students. Trained as an 
attorney, he understood the virtue of justice and the fact 
that a stable order need cause no infringement against the 
spirit or bonhomie of the campus. 


wintep weathec 

Snow seems always to catch the Abbey off-guard. Even a 
modest storm can isolate the campus. Early students 
complained that a Carolina snow cancelled everything but 
classes, sequestered everything but the study-hall, and gave 
faculty far too much free time for the students' good. 

huRRiCAne huqo 

On September 22, 1989, Hurricane Hugo reached Belmont. Damage 
totalled more than $500,000; hundreds of trees were felled. Virtually 
every building on campus required repairs, ranging from broken 
windows to lost roofs. Even the crosses atop the Abbey Church were 
bent. With the loss of electrical power, classes were cancelled for a week. 
When the monks awoke on the first morning after the storm, they found 
a group of students, organized by Richard Sutter, already at work in the 
monastery courtyard, clearing debris. It was an example of the spirit of 
the campus and the reality of religion practiced. Pictured above is the 
remains of a pecan tree in front of the Brothers' Building. At left, the 
O'Neil Steeple-Jack Family repairs a cross from atop the church. 


Major fires struck the Abbey in 
1886, 1899, 1900, 1960, 1964. 
Lesser fires occurred in at least a 
half-dozen other years. The 
foreground of this photograph 
shows what remained of the east 
wing of the Brothers' Building 
(originally "O'Donoghue Hall") 
after its fire of 1960. 

1900 flR6 

The greatest fire at the Abbey was the 
blaze of 19 May 1900. It destroyed two- 
thirds of the College Building, and 
closed the school for four months of re- 
construction. No lives were lost, nor 
were there any serious injuries, but the 
library, museum, and furnishings were 
decimated. One student, Milo Dodd, 
showed exemplary courage in leading 
the younger ones to safety. His service 
was acknowledged with the award of a 
life-time scholarship. In gratitude for 
the students' efforts in fighting the 
blaze, Abbot-Bishop Haid gave new 
trunks to all the boys, and the monks 
relinquished their cells in the monastery 
to accommodate the young scholars 
during the days following. The students 
responded by offering their books as 
the beginning of a new library for the 
College (also see page iv). 

managing ResouRces 

The first layman to replace the monks (long-term) 
as the College's Business Manager, was J. P. Smith. 
He served in the decades surrounding the school's 
centenary. Known for his devotion to the Abbey 
and the creativity 
wherewith he addressed 
inadequate financing and 
the maintenance of aged 
buildings, Smith helped 
keep the College operating 
in some of her most 
turbulent years 
economically. A series of 
similarly gifted business 
managers continued the 
Smith tradition in 
succeeding years. 

the tuRBulent '60 s 

In 1969, students took control 
of the Gaston Science Hall. The 
Abbey's president, Father Jude 
Cleary, O.S.B., responded with 
his usual calm and logic, and 
brought about a peaceful 
resolution of the crisis. 


section x 

paith supplies 


ABBOt-Bishop tiai6 ha6 

more than symmetry in mind when he 
placed the Abbey Church at the center of 
his College's campus. While expressing the 
art of the campus and its respect for good architecture, 
the Church reflected the centrality of faith in the conduct 
of campus life and the prominence of Catholic values 
and purposes. For generations of students, the Cathedral 
has been the most evocative symbol of Abbey life. 
Convocations, liturgies and recitals are held there; it is 
available for private prayer, staffed for Confessions, and 
in every way recognized as the primary stimulus of 
campus life and identity. But the role of faith on campus 
is broader than the church. Haid, in particular, insisted 
that religion was to affect the whole of Abbey life. 


CAthCORAL COnStRUCtlOn 11892-1893J 

The Abbey Cathedral was constructed 1892-1893. It was designed by Peter 
Dederichs (b.1856), and built by monks and hired laborers. The monks had 
delayed construction of the church during their first 16 years, waiting until a 
church suitable to a Benedictine abbey could be afforded. The results met 
expectations. This photograph of the Cathedral exterior (left) was taken in 1894. 
The 1897 photograph (below) was taken after the frescoes were added. The 
Abbey Cathedral is on the National Register of Historic Places doubly, once in its 
own right (1973) and again as part of the Belmont Abbey Historic District (1993). 

CAthCORAl RCnOVAtlOn 11964-1965} 

In 1964-1965, the Abbey Cathedral was given a radical 
renovation, designed by Friedrich H. Schmitt. While changing 
the character of the interior, the building was saved from its 
progressive deterioration and adapted to the post-Conciliar 
liturgical norms. So complete was the renovation that the 
heavy-equipment vehicles drove through the front door to 
strip the old design and prepare for the new one. In the process, 
a crypt was added, as were a lower sacristy, vault, the narthex- 
baptistry, and a new pipe-organ (American opus #1 of Wilhelm 
Zimmer and Company). [See page 59.] 


the thRee pipe-ORqans 

There have been three organs in the Abbey Cathedral. The first 
(seen at left) was a Felgemaker in a White Oak case; it had 33 pipes, 
2 manuals, and 25 stops and couplers. In 1946, Moller enlarged the 
instrument, providing a two-manual organ in an austere oak case. 
The Zimmer model (1965) was a showpiece, really two organs 
played from a single, three-keyboard console. One organ sounded 
in the monastic choir, while the great-organ was voiced from the 
choirloft. The Zimmer (which was enlarged and embellished in 
succeeding years) came to have 2,424 pipes, 38 ranks, and 4 
divisions. The organ (above) was dedicated with a recital by Berj 
Zamkochian on May 6, 1965. 

catheoRal consecRation (19651 

The most solemn form of church blessing is a 
consecration. Although the original church was 
solemnly blessed by James Cardinal Gibbons in 1894, 
after the renovation (1964), the Abbey Cathedral was 
Solemnly Consecrated. Abbot Walter Coggin 
officiated at the consecration on 28 March 1965 (seen 
here assisted by Father Bertrand Pattison at left, and 
Father Clement Porzio at right). 

Baptismal, font 

The granite block that now forms the Baptismal Font in the Abbey Church 
is one of the campus' senior landmarks. When the first monks arrived 
(1876), they called the monastery "Mariastein" in recognition of this stone's 
prominence. According to tradition it had been an altar for the Native- 
American Catawbas and later a block whereupon slaves were sold. Because 
of the latter tradition, Abbot Walter Coggin proposed the adaptation of the 
stone into a Baptismal Font; he had it marked with a plaque reading, "Upon 
this rock, men once were sold into slavery. Now upon this rock, through 
the waters of Baptism, men become free children of God." 

BLesseC) saccament aUar 

The Blessed Sacrament altar is situated in the north transept. Both apart from and 
integrated into the flow of the church, it provides a place for private Adoration and 
for ready access during liturgies. The altar is of Georgia marble, on a floor of 
undyed flagstone; the tabernacle area is flanked by Schneider windows and 
surmounted by a Mayer Rose Widow (all German-made). The sculptures and 
sanctuary lamp are the work of Armando del Cimmuto. 

6aily mass 

At the daily conventual Mass, the monks and college community gather around 
the main altar to celebrate the Lord's Supper. When Father Herman Wolfe, the 
first monk here, offered the Benedictines' initial Mass in Carolina, he noted, "May 
God assist us that this Sacrifice will never be interrupted here." 

BROtheR qeoRqe poeLUth, 


Brother George Poellath, O.S.B. (1876- 
1963) (left), was sacristan of the Abbey 
Church for over half-a-century. 
Brother George spent endless hours in 
the service of God by enhancing the 
setting of the liturgies, and keeping the 
Abbey Cathedral neat, properly 
appointed, and ready for any 
contingency. He was especially noted 
for his Christmas creche (below) and 
the elaborate decorations he used in 
the church for solemnities and special 
celebrations (right). 



Students have always formed the main support force 
at liturgies in the Abbey Cathedral. Altarboys — and 
in recent years, girls, too — bear mitre and crozier, 
candles, thurifer, books; they serve, read, ring bells, 
and assist in any number of auxiliary capacities. 
Because of the presence of the abbot, the pontifical 
ceremonial is often used, lending particular solemnity 
and dignity. These photographs show various scenes 
of these student-assistants, vested for the liturgy. 

Acolytes in pre-renovation 
sacristy (1963). 

Acolytes (1900-1901), with Father Eugene Egan (center, back row). 

Acolytes (1992) after 
abbatial blessing of 
Oscar Burnett. 

Acolytes (1956). 

% m 


Funeral of Abbot Haid (1924). 

Abbot Jude Cleary incensing altar at Vespers (c. 1976). Easter (1929). 



Attendance at the Abbey has allowed students 
to participate in liturgies they would not 
ordinarily have experienced. These 
ceremonies have varied from the blessing of 
an abbot, and visits of an Apostolic Delegate, 
to ordinations, solemn pontifical Masses, the 
hours of the Divine Office, and prelatial 
funerals. Both Abbot-Bishop Haid and Abbot 
Vincent Taylor spoke of the importance of 
having students experience the liturgical 
splendor of the Church in all its glory. They 
wanted Abbeymen to understand the effect 
and importance of attending God in a manner 
befitting His greatness. 

Abbatial blessing of 
Abbot Edmund 
McCaffrey (1970). 


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Priestly ordination of Fathers Kevin Fahey and Kenneth Geyer (1953). 


Corpus Christi (1906). Father Donald Scales celebrating 

outdoor Mass in dormitory. 

campus mmistRy 

Each school year begins with the Mass of the Holy Spirit. Throughout the year, pastoral services are available from the various priests, 
but there has always been a chaplain to coordinate the availability of Mass and the Sacraments. Today, there is a Campus Ministry 
team to provide these services, as well as counseling and opportunities for apostolic and charitable work. 

6evotions in the QROtto 

Since 1891, the Abbey's Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, a Pilgrimage Shrine dedicated to petitions for Church vocations, has been a 
locus in students' devotional life. In 1908, the Grotto was the designated pilgrimage site (above right) for Catholics of the Southeast on 
the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the apparitions at Lourdes. For many years the annual Mothers' Day Mass was offered in the 
Grotto. One monk, Brother Gregory Corcoran, O.S.B. (1940-1990), professed his monastic vows there. 

pastoRAl WORk 

The monks of Belmont also have 
a long tradition of serving 
Catholics in the local area. For 
example, during the Second 
World War, Abbot Vincent 
traveled regularly to military 
encampments in North Carolina, 
where he would celebrate 
pontifical liturgies. At one Mass, 
celebrated in Morven, North 
Carolina, more that 15,000 
soldiers attended. This 
photograph shows Abbot 
Vincent at one of the Carolina 

military camps in July 1943. 

section xi 

the ABBey in 


the flRSt ABBOt of 

Belmont and his prior were published 

playwrights. Thus, it was no surprise that 

the performing arts acquired eminence in 

the College's life. Various monks and faculty members 
still assist the students with productions, serving as 
directors, and even as actors, musicians, and technicians. 
Music, too, was important to the early curriculum, so 
that the first time Abbot Leo borrowed a faculty member 
from another monastery, he emphasized the need for a 
professor of instrumental music. 

Regular faculty have included an architect, 
accomplished painters and musicians, as well as 
scholars. Included among professors, visiting fellows, 
and artists-in-residence have been poets, playwrights, 
an operatic tenor, translators, authors of fiction, history, 
and biography. 

The students have also been exposed to great 
speakers, men and women of politics, philosophy, art, 
theology, any serious academic or cultural discipline. 
These, no less than the formal curriculum, allowed 
Haid's vision of a 'thorough' education its full 

6 5 

theAtRe QRowth 

The first theatre on campus (1888) was in 
the College Building; the second was placed 
in Jubilee Hall (1897) (pictured here as it 
appeared in 1899). The first formal 
dramatic hall-outfitted with generous fly 
space, extensive wings, and brilliant, 
painted landscapes of both interiors and 
exteriors-was on the third floor of Saint 
Leo Hall (1907). Then (a half century later) 
the theatre moved to the first floor. When 
the bookstore acquired that last space in 
1979, an interim theatre was installed in 
The Haid. In 1987, the College replaced 
that facility with a modern dramatic hall at 
the building's south end, accoutred with 
amenities that reflected the prominence of 
dramatics on campus. 


Abbey theatre began in 1879 
with a series of "dialogues," 
where plays, philosophical 
texts, and other scripts were 
read aloud by students and 
faculty before assemblies of 
the entire school. In 1884, the 
Saint Benedict's Dramatic 
Association was founded, 
giving an annual play in each 
of the next six years. The Saint 
Leo's Dramatic Association 
replaced Saint Benedict's in 
1890, scheduling two regular 
productions per year, plus 
special plays on significant 
occasions or in honor of 
distinguished visitors . 

ABBOt hAid And theAtRe 

With the opening of the theatre in Saint 
Leo Hall (1907), Abbey dramatics 
acquired a more serious tone. Abbot Leo 
Haid wanted plays to inform the 
students and to express values; he spoke 
of theatre as an art, and whether the 
production was comedy, mystery, or 
drama, he expected the boys-despite 
their rural setting, young age, and 
inexperience-to bring sophistication and 
professionalism to their performances. 
Haid said that the students were to learn 
from the experience of the play's 
performance and preparation as much as 
from its content and the pleasure of 
attendance. This photograph shows 
Armand Nougee in the Abbey's 1908 
production of Major John Andre, the first 
(1876) of Leo Haid's published plays. 


monks An6 the 

One distinctive feature of 
Abbey theatre has been the 
participation of the monks 
as actors. Father Aloysius 
Hanlon (pictured) appeared 
as Hamlet. Others, like 
Fathers Cuthbert Allen, John 
Oetgen, and Eugene 
Kusterer directed plays over 
a period of successive years. 
Father Kenneth Geyer 
staged select productions. 
Lay faculty also were 
Directors of Theatre, 
including Paul Neal [see 
page 35] and David Gorney 
[see page 36], who served 
the Abbey Players for more 
than a decade; numerous 
faculty directed single or 
occasional plays. 

theAtRe offeRinqs 

In the 1920's, the dramatics society was renamed The Piedmont Players, before taking its 
enduring name, The Abbey Players, in 1937. Frequency of productions varied, but was 
ordinarily scheduled at once per semester. That changed with the return of senior- 
college status in 1952. Thereafter, Abbey plays were more frequent, augmented by 
touring companies from The Catholic University of America and elsewhere, and by 
variety productions like the annual Abbey Review, conceived and directed by Father 
Eugene Kusterer [see page 40]. This photograph is from The Evidence of the Blood Stained 
Dagger, 1897, with George (later Abbot Vincent) Taylor at left. 


wife a A 

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4flE M 


F .* 


patheR fRancis foRsteR, o.s.b. 

Through much of the 1960's and 1970's, Father 
Francis Forster (pictured at right, with Father John 
Oetgen) oversaw the electrical and lighting schema 
of the Players, keeping an antiquated light-board in 
service beyond all expectations, and thus allowing 
new sophistication in the productions. Father Francis 
served more than drama with his skills. He also 
coordinated the College's telephones, and designed 
intra-campus voicing of the Abbey radio (WABY), 
while acting as registrar of the College and directing 
computer services for the administrative offices. 

Academic theAtRe 

Father John Oetgen, seen here in rehearsal for the title role of John 
Osborne's Luther, served the College in a variety of positions, including 
Director of Theatre, professor of English, president, and trustee. Oetgen's 
contribution to the arts was to ensure that the traditions of true, academic 
theatre replaced the reliance on frivolous entertainments that distracted 
many schools at that time. Father John's productions included classics like 
Antigone and Othello and contemporary plays like Mary, Mary, A View From 
the Bridge, The Hasty Heart, and Candida. 

Lhi Ohhm Vla^m PaouSl/ Vjvumt 

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OCTOBER 1- H. 1182 

op SI* if asm 


The Abbey Players have also presented the premiere performance of a number of plays. Early examples included productions like 
Adventure in the White Mountains. More recently, works like Mixed Nuts and Now Let Us All Give Thanks have been staged. American 
premieres included Robert Hugh Benson's Come Rack! Come Rope!, the first American amateur production of Agatha Christie's The 
Mousetrap (above), and Christopher Buckley and James MacGuire's Campion [see below, left]. 

simon 6onoqhue 

When Simon Donoghue (above, at left in Campion, 1989) became the eighteenth Director 
of Theatre in 1976, he inherited a program that had fallen to a single annual production. 
This soon jumped to as many as eight per year. A published playwright, he also directed 
and acted at area theatres and oversaw the centenary of Abbey drama. His seasons 
involved an innovative program, balanced among significant but seldom-produced 
contemporary dramas like Good, The Chalk Garden, and Hadrian VII; various 
monodramas, most notably Aldyth Morris' Damien; an annual Shakespeare play, and a 
series of Stephen Sondheim musicals (right), a scene from Sondheim's Follies, 1983). 

musical ARtlStS 

The Performing Artists series was conceived by Father Kenneth Geyer in 1957. Over the 
next thirty years more than 200 arts programs were presented. An accomplished pianist, 
Father Kenneth also arranged and sometimes performed at faculty recitals, assisted by 
colleagues and monks on organ, woodwinds, strings, and other instruments. Of particular 
note, were Father Kenneth's two-piano recital with Douglas Zeller (1976) and piano/organ 
duets played at a performance by Brother Christian Roth, O.S.B. (1981). 


Andersen and Maddox at Belmont Abbey 

flute and piano 

pitheR kenneth qeyeR, o.s.b. 

One of the most prominent figures in music at the Abbey has been Father 
Kenneth Geyer. He took his graduate degree in musicology at The 
Catholic University of America, and served the Abbey as chairman of the 
Fine Arts Department, Cathedral Organist, and as director of liturgical 
music for more than forty years. He was particularly gifted at nurturing 
the talents of the younger monks who knew music. With these, he 
augmented the liturgies, and gave recitals at the Abbey, in local settings, 
and in other states. Father Kenneth was one of two monks of Belmont 
who sang at the Mass for the sesquimillennium of the birth of Saint 
Benedict, celebrated at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in 
Washington. He also gave presentations as pianist and composer before 
the Benedictine Musicians of the Americas. 

iRene ma66ox 

Charlotte flutist Irene Maddox, a 
native of Texas who had studied 
under Jean-Pierre Rampal, was a 
friend of the Abbey over many 
years. She gave several recitals here, 
brought the Charlotte Flute Festival 
to Belmont, and in 1982 recorded this 
commercial album in the Abbey 

Father Francis 
Underwood in his 
studio 1914. 

Glee Club (1914-1915). 

music in the curricuIuiti 

Music in the curriculum dates to the first years of the College. It has varied in 
content, almost always relying upon monastic musicians. Three names have 
dominated in this tradition, Fathers Francis Underwood, Adelard Bouvilliers, and 
Kenneth Geyer. Student performances have centered around vocal music, with two 
groups having special significance: The Glee Club early in the century initiated a 
tradition of annual recitals by a choir selected through competitive auditions; in the 
1960's, Father Eugene Kusterer oversaw the most accomplished singers in the 
Abbey's history, the Chanticleers. In addition, faculty joined students for both the 
Schola Cantorum (for singing at liturgies) and the band. 


6istinquished visitops 
Only a sampling of the 
Abbey's distinguished visitors 
and guest speakers can be 
contained here. But the 
photographs on this page 
show the diversity of talents 
and achievements that have 
been represented. 


7 4 

section xii 




athLetic competition 

has always been a part of campus life at 
Belmont Abbey. 

Baseball is the senior sport and was 

required of all students for a quarter-century. Seeking 
to balance team sports with individual competition, a 
varied track-and-field program soon developed, too, 
including cross country. Next a purely recreational 
activity was sought, something to occupy the boys on 
rainy days. The solution was gymnastics, featuring rings, 
climbing, tumbling, floor exercise, and feats of strength 
and balance. From the beginning there were both 
intramural challenges and contests against teams from 
area schools, industries, and clubs. 

The athletics offerings at the Abbey eventually 
expanded to include women's sports and by the time 
the Abbey engaged in National Collegiate Athletic 
Association (NCAA) Division II competition in the 1990's, 
the College fielded intercollegiate teams in six men's and 
six women's sports. National rankings and national 
tournament play has been commonplace for the Abbey 



Competitive basketball was initiated at the Abbey by Father Paul Milde, O.S.B. 
[above, left], who in graduate school had played for The Catholic University of 
America. Humpy Wheeler made basketball a major sport here, coaching teams 
that won 284 games, lost 124, and reigned five times as state champions and thrice 
as state runners-up. Women's basketball, initiated in 1980, was first coached by 
Tony Baldwin [above, right]. It was a winner from the beginning. The first 
season went 12-10; the second year jumped to 18 victories against 7 losses; in 
Baldwin's third season, the Lady Crusaders were undefeated through the entire 
autumn semester and did not lose a game until January 24. The present successor, 
Eliane Kebbe, has brought repeated championships home to the Abbey. 

coAch humpy wheeLeR 

Howard Augustus Wheeler, Sr. (1902-1968), 
known to all as "Humpy," was the first layman 
to hold an enduring appointment to the Abbey 
faculty. Hired in 1929, he was brought south to 
coach all sports, all teams, in each season. He 
directed both intramural competitions and off- 
campus contests while also teaching history, 
politics, civics and hygiene. Wheeler's arrival 
coincided with the planning of the new Haid 
Gymnasium, which opened in 1930. Excepting 
his time as a naval officer in the Second World 
War, Coach Wheeler remained at the Abbey 
until the year of his death. Upon his retirement, 
Belmont Abbey College awarded him a doctoral 
degree, honoris causa. 


The Bishop Haid Athletic Trophy was the Abbey's most prestigious 
sports award, going to the best all-round athlete. In 1936, it was won 
by Walter Arthur Coggin [right], the class valedictorian, and a future 
abbot and Belmont Abbey College president. Coggin's principal sport 
was football, which by the 1930's had the College's most competitive 
inter-collegiate team. Six of Humpy Wheeler's squads won state titles. 
The 1938 team won the National Junior College Championship, capping 
a season wherein it remained undefeated, untied, and unscored upon; 
that team garnered 273 points to its opponents 0. In one game, wherein 
Wheeler gave each of his players field-time to hold down the score, the 
Abbeymen scored 90 points. Overall, Wheeler's football teams won 
100 games and lost 48, with 5 ties. 



In 1929, Belmont's Father 
Michael Mclnerney, O.S.B. 
[see page 111], drew the 
plans for the Haid 
Gymnasium (right). Its 
Gothic-fortress design 
housed an elegant basketball 
court (above), bordered by 
sandalwood-colored tile 
wainscoting, 8 feet in height. 
Dressing rooms and 
showers were below; on the 
east wall were bleachers of 
poured concrete with a 
broad "Press Stable." 

wheeLeR centeR 

When the Abbey broke ground for its new athletics complex in 1969, there was no dispute over its name. Rightly, the building was 
namesake to Coach Humpy Wheeler, who had fathered the school's organized athletics program. The Center included the school's 
first natatorium (above, left), and a modern basketball court, weight room (above, right), offices, and training facilities. 

Stanley Dudko 

Coach Stanley Dudko, 
pictured (left) with one of his 
children, made Abbey soccer 
a championship sport and a 
national contender. But 
soccer was just one of his jobs 
at Belmont. He had 
graduated from the College, 
returned as professor of 
economics, and became 
counselor and club sponsor to 
generations of students. In 
1971, Pope Paul VI elevated 
Mr. Dudko to a Papal 

The Playing Fields 

To underscore the importance of athletics, elaborate grandstands were erected 
overlooking the Playing Fields. Girls from Sacred Heart sat on the dexter side, the 
Abbeymen on the sinister. The photograph (above) shows the Grandstands in 
1908, with boys and girls segregated, and Fathers Thomas Oestreich (seated, 
center left) and Ambrose Gallagher (seated, center right) in "no man's land" — as it 
was rather literally called. The Fields, as the baseball diamond was known in 
Abbot Leo's time, served a variety of sports, including track and field, football, and 
the students' own version of (horseless) steeplechase. In 1914, Father Michael 
Mclnerney, O.S.B., designed new, more substantial grandstands. The photograph 
(below) shows the May 5, 1915 dedication of the new Grandstands. The Fields is 
now the site of Jeremiah J. O'Connell Hall. 

Al McGuire 

In basketball, the name everyone remembers 
is Al McGuire, "Catholic Small College Coach of 
the Year" in 1959. The Abbey was his first 
collegiate head-coaching position, the 
beginning of a seven year tenure here of 
success and championships. When, on April 
11, 1964, it was announced that he was leaving 
to become head coach at Marquette 
University, the Newsletter reported that the 
Abbey flag was lowered to half-mast, as "team 
hopes died a while, and 7 lively years drifted in 

Field trips 

The football team in the 1930's named the team's 
autobus (right) "Brother Christopher Char-a-banc" 
in honor of Saint Christopher (the patron saint of 
travelers) and an overly exuberant vocabulary. 
Displaying amazement at this sign of modernity 
and progress, students reported that the arrival of 
the bus provided the Abbey "with its third motor- 
vehicle. How many schools can match that?!!!" 





Informal games and competitions 

Men's basketball 



8 I 



section xni 



when the fiRSt 

permanent monks arrived at the Abbey, the 
new abbot, Leo Haid, as his first 
administrative act, moved the library to the 
ground floor of the College. Placing it near the main 
entrance, he re-organized the collection, and then — 
having thought to bring books with him from the 
motherhouse in Pennsylvania — enlarged it. Haid's 
intention was to make the library more accessible as a 
scholarly resource. That focus upon the library never 
left the Abbey. 

From about 300 books in 1886, the library's resources 
had grown about 20-score by the school's centenary, 
forming a major research collection. In addition to its 
regular holdings, today's Abbot Vincent Taylor Library 
houses an extensive rare and valuable books collection, 
and special aggregations in Carolinia, Benedictina, and 
autographed books. The ordinary holdings have been 
embellished further by incunabula, manuscripts, 
Napoleana, Italian prints, and centuries-old Bibles and 
liturgical books. 

8 3 

national Attention 

In 1989 and again in 1995, the principal journal 
in North American Catholic libraries, Catholic 
Library World, featured the Abbey Library. The 
first essay focused upon special collections, 
especially the Benedictine and monastic 
volumes at the Abbey. The more substantial 
item was "Thomas Oestreich and the Founding 
of a Great Library." It traced the origins of the 
library, accenting its extensive European 
acquisitions, early collection policy, and its 

saint Leo Library 

The Saint Leo Hall Library, in the former gymnasium, 
was the first formal research center on campus. 
Created in 1939, it was organized according to 
modern standards and was designed to provide 
regular hours and services. Seen here (at desk) is 
Father Gabriel Stupasky, O.S.B. (1911-1974). He was 
the first monk to hold a professional degree in 
librarianship, wherewith he oversaw the creation of a 
distinguished academic collection on campus. When 
the library catalogue was computerized in 1997, the 
system was christened "Gabriel." 

oonoRS an6 suppoRteRs 

The Abbey library has always profited by 
contributions from donors. Father Julius Pohl, O.S.B., 
who along with Father Thomas Oestreich, O.S.B. [see 
page 42], is recognized as founder of the library's 
collection and philosophy, developed elaborate 
contacts on behalf of library acquisitions. He won 
numerous rare books for Belmont, indulged his taste 
for fine bindings, and acquired an extensive collection 
of the works of Robert Hugh Benson. The Reverend 
Henry G. Ganss (left), a diocesan priest in 
Pennsylvania who was distinguished as both a scholar 
and musician, gave most of his research library, 
consisting of more than 500 volumes, to Saint Mary's 
College at Belmont. In 1990, supporters of the library 
were organized as the Friends of the Abbot Vincent 
Taylor Library. 


When much of the library was destroyed in the fire of 1900, 
Abbot-Bishop Haid took steps to ensure the creation of a new 
book collection. Printed texts were purchased directly from 
publishers, before binding, then processed at the Abbey's bindery 
to secure a considerable financial savings. Haid also sent Father 
Thomas Oestreich, O.S.B., to Europe to purchase books from 
libraries closed or damaged in the Great War and various other 
upheavals. Unusual initiatives like these allowed economical and 
efficient bibliographical provisions for the students. Until 
recently, the Abbey's library was the only major Catholic 
research collection between the District of Columbia and Florida. 
Its special attention to volumes of philosophy, theology, history, 
and monastic literature attracts scholars from throughout the 
country to Belmont. 


The journals and periodicals in the Abbey's 
library must cover the broad requirements of the 
curriculum. In addition, the library secures 
Benedictine and monastic writings that augment 
the special collections. In the early days of the 
library, special attention was given to 
international Catholic journals and to items of 
Church history. Modern collection-policy focuses 
on demands created by the rapid development of 
issues in undergraduate research and the broader 
interests of contemporary students. 


Julia McDonnell 

Mrs. Julia McDonnell (left) assisted 
Father Gabriel in the library, 
starting in 1942. She left briefly for a 
public library assignment, then 
returned to complete 27 years of 
full-time, and 10 of part-time service 
in the Abbey library. In the 1970' s, 
as Cataloguing Librarian, she 
oversaw the conversion of the 
collection to Library of Congress 
organizational standards. Much of 
her later career at the Abbey was 
devoted to original cataloguing of 
the rare books collection (right), 
which fills two-thirds of the east 
length of the library. In later years 
the McDonnell tradition continued 
when her grandson, Chip Wilson, 
served as president of the Friends of 
the Library. 

modern Librarian 

Mary Thomas (below) was raised in the shadow of the Abbey, in a family 
long and intimately associated with the monks. From the Sisters at Sacred 
Heart she acquired a love of literature that brought her to the Abbey 
library as Circulation Librarian. Subsequently, she was promoted to 
Reference Librarian. Amid her library duties, Mrs. Thomas also found 
time to complete an Abbey degree in English (B.A., 1981), perform with 
the Abbey Players, and promote contemporary writers and research 
among the students. Brother Xavier Hauman, O.S.B. (1916-1983) (right), 
after jobs with the Abbey's kitchens, grounds, and business office, was 
appointed Periodicals Librarian. Employing his acute attention to detail, 
he re-organized the journals and oversaw extensive contacts for acquiring 
new copies of missing or damaged holdings. 

pattieR 6avi6 
kessinqeR, o.s.b. 

Father David Kessinger, O.S.B., a 
graduate of the College at 
Belmont, brought the library into 
a new and progressive age of 
service. As Head Librarian (1961- 
1970) he took a more aggressive 
approach to providing academic 
services, including tours and 
orientation classes, along with 
frequent exhibits and 
distinguished lecturers. He made 
the library a center of campus 
life. Father David was also the 
first Belmont monk trained 
professionally in archivism; he 
collected extensive holdings in 
Belmontana, expanding the 
documents, manuscripts, and 
photograph holdings with sound 
recordings of Abbey events and 
visitors. Most of the 
photographs in this present 
volume are indebted to Father 
David's collection and to 
photographic preservation work 
by Abbot Walter Coggin, O.S.B. 


Benedictine collection 

Under the guidance of Father Julius Pohl, and then of 
Father Thomas Oestrich, the library began a special 
policy of collecting monastic literature, including books, 
manuscripts, and periodicals. Many of these, especially 
journals and historical works, were international in 
origin. In the 1970' s, holdings that were Benedictine or 
Cistercian in content, authorship, or translator were 
united by Mrs. Julia McDonnell and her staff into a 
separate collection with its own room, the former 
Seminary Classroom. In 1985, the collection was moved 
to renovated and enlarged facilities in the Library's 
Drafting Room (above). 

jane fReeman 

Perhaps the most aggressive Director of the Library 
was Jane Land Freeman. She assembled the most 
substantial-in both quality and quantity-staff of 
professionally-degreed librarians in the history of the 
College, saw that monks were involved in operations, 
bestowed new impetus to the nurturing of the special 
collections, and gave priority to organizing and 
securing the rare and valuable books. Most 
significantly, by her initiative the library created 
extensive outreach programs, including exhibits both 
on- and off-campus, and cultural gatherings in the 

cultuRal pROQRams 

The Freeman years were enriched by a series of 
cultural evenings called the "Three P's" (later the 
"Four P's"), gatherings for Poetry, Prose, Plays, 
and Punch. Faculty, monks, and staff performed 
at these events, presenting both original works 
and classics, in a varied evening staged amid the 
Reference Collection on the main floor. This 
photograph from the Four P's shows Professors 
Bennett Judkins (Department of Sociology) and 
Jean Moore (Department of English) in a scene 
from Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being 
Earnest, which they had earlier performed with 
The Abbey Players. 

aBBOt Vincent taylOR LiBRaRy 

The Abbot Vincent Taylor Library, situated along Abbey Lane (seen 
here center-left [above]) was the last campus design by Father Michael 
Mclnerney, O.S.B. As conceived in 1956, it was intended to 
accommodate 250,000 volumes, with study space for 250 students at a 
time. There are presently over 300,000 books and bound-periodicals, 
allowing the library to profit by Mclnerney's foresight. By his design, 
the library has no interior supporting walls, allowing complete revision 
of its facilities; the building is also structured to hold an additional 
(third) floor above. As Father Michael joked at the library's dedication 
in 1959, the elevator "already has an 'Up' button." 

RefeRence collection 

The Reference Collection was a special 
focus in the 1980's and 1990's, as Mrs. 
Marjorie McDermott, Director of 
Learning Resources, assigned it 
additional space and shelving, 
expanded the collection, and hired a 
succession of competent reference 
professionals. She also ensured that 
trained staff was available at all times, 
including throughout the library's 
evening hours. Mrs. McDermott also 
initiated the first computerization of 
the library's catalogue. 


Since its construction, the Abbot Vincent Taylor Library has hosted exhibits of art, 
design, rarities, curiosities, artifacts, wardrobe, and enumerable other objects. The 
library has also sent its materials to outside museums for exhibit. This photograph 
shows a case from a 1978 exhibit of Abbey holdings at the Mint Museum of History in 
Charlotte, NC. An extensive display, the exhibit was entitled "The Printed Word 
Prevails," opening rare books, calligraphy, exceptional bindings and other examples of 
the Abbey's rich holdings to a wider audience. 

section xiv 

Life outside the 


pARt of the distinction of 

Abbey education, as conceived by Abbot- 
Bishop Haid, was that the College's purpose 
was not confined to classroom and library. 
The campus reflected his vision of 'thorough' education: 
The Abbey Cathedral stood at the center, expressive of 
values and truth; behind it stood the monastery, 
housing men vowed to stability and right order in life; 
before the church stretched the farm, emblematic of 
physical sustenance, working hard, and working 
together; at the south of Haid's monastery stood the 
classrooms and students' dormitories, with their 
common life and fraternity; one aspect of the buildings 
to the north was the library, reflecting scholarship. But 
to the east, stretching toward the Catawba River, were 
the Playing Fields, a no less integral part of 'thorough' 

This section of Blessing the Years to Come is a collection 
of images showing students outside the classroom, 
engaged in the varied activities that, in the Abbey's 
understanding, did not distract from education: they 
contributed to it. 


maintaining discipline 

In welcoming freshmen to campus 
in 1956, Father Cuthbert Allen 
(right) reported having polled the 
faculty, where he learned that, 
through the years, the most 
frequently defied campus 
regulation had been the ban on 
having pets. Citings, he said, had 
included everything from a mouse 
to a horse (the latter presumably 
not in the dormitory). "Today, 
however," Father Cuthbert said, 
"the most prized pet on campus 
seems to have four wheels, a 
convertible top, and a piece of shiny chrome running its length on 
both sides. Oddly, these animals are reported to have many horses 
in front that 'purr like a kitten.' The fact is, I've seen these beasts; 
I've even ridden some. But I must admit I've not yet found one 
hidden in the dormitories." 

holding a job 

Students in every generation have searched for 
means of covering expenses. The early Abbeymen 
helped pay for their education by working on the 
Benedictines' farm. Since the 1940' s, students have 
been allowed to hold off-campus jobs to help them 
meet expenses. Today, the federal government 
supports a work-study program that lets students 
earn money by assisting administrators and 
professors, and by assisting in campus services. 



Living togethep 

Campus life, as originally conceived for the students, was structured according to a 
Benedictine model. The hours were different, as were the tasks and immediate 
purposes; nevertheless, dormitory life at the Abbey was envisioned by the 
Benedictines as providing order for people living in common, marked by mutual 
support and purpose, sharing faith and experience, putting their fortunes together 
toward a good end. Like the monks, dormitory residents would eat together, rest, 
work, study, and recreate in proximity to one another. 


young Benedictines 

Students are not the only young-adults on 
campus. Since becoming an abbey in 1884, the 
monastery has received about 400 candidates 
into its number here. Fewer than 1 in 3 of those 
young men remain at Belmont until death, but 
they contribute nonetheless to the Abbey and 
her work. The presence of young men testing 
their vocations as Benedictines is a familiar sight 
at the Abbey, a perpetual reminder to students 
of what Saint Benedict describes as "do[ing] now 
what will profit you for all Eternity." 


Campus dormitories started with 
cavernous halls in the College 
Building, each containing rows of 
beds and lockers (see page 24). 
Through the years, those rooms 
were subdivided, with each 
renovation decreasing the number 
of students per room (see page 97). 
Eventually, Saint Leo Hall also 
housed students (see page 30), 
allowing four residents per room, 
two, or even private 
accommodations. Since their 
construction in the 1960's, O'Connell 
(above, left), Poellath and Raphael 
Arthur (left) Halls have had their 
interiors re-configured several times 
to vary the number of students 
housed and the services provided. 
Since 1989, apartment-style space 
has also been available in the 
Cuthbert Allen complex (below). 


rriARy cook 

Mary Cook (above) came to the Abbey as a secretary in the 1950' s, where — during more than a quarter-century — her industry, 
organization and leadership proved invaluable. Throughout her tenure, she was recognized as the prime figure engaged in 
administrative support services. Among her responsibilities were promoting the involvement of non-resident students in the life of the 
campus, welcoming and encouraging visits by guests and alumni, and organizing and hosting special events. She also coordinated the 
Wives' Auxiliary (above, right), recognizing that the spouses of post-war Abbeymen should be involved in their husbands' education 
and the programs of campus life. 


One common element of every college is its bookstore. In the first days of the campus, 
only textbooks were available on campus, and other supplies were imported on demand 
(below, left). Through successive years, provisions expanded to include writing 
paraphernalia, recreational reading and reference books, periodicals, clothing, 
commemoratives, memorabilia, and other materials associated with a modern bookstore 
(below, right). The modern facility on campus today was first developed by Dorothy 
Aycock (left), who became so popular that alumni reunions even featured gatherings of 
graduates who had been bookstore employees. 


Saint Patrick Day 1908 

cuys of friendship «\no ceLeBRAtion 

Festive days at the Abbey arise as part of tradition, 
spontaneously, as commemoratives, diversions, 
ordinary occasions or extraordinary, as part of 
rendering some service or just for the fun of it. 
But the best days may be the ones just spent 
together. This is a sampling. 



living with beauty 


section xv 

Beauty and custom 


saint anselm, the 

Church's patron of Benedictine schools, 

identifies beauty as an attribute of God. This 

is a common understanding among doctors 

of the Church, but Anselm strikes his own course. 
Whereas, for most theologians, beauty is understood as 
expressive of divine goodness; Anselm sees beauty as a 
sign of perfection—specifically, evidence of the exquisite 
order of divinity. This concept of beauty is reflected at 
the Abbey in both her art and customs. 

In design and architecture, in the provision of favored 
sites and appurtenances, in the gatherings and uses they 
enjoy, there is an understanding that the Abbey's 
architect, Father Michael Mclnerney, described as "not 
depending for effect upon decoration. Grace of line, the 
play of light and shade, arrangement and distribution of 
mass . . . [lend] a real beauty which will enhance with age. 


monastic paintecs 

Two monks of Belmont have been distinguished painters. Father Gerard Pilz, O.S.B. (1834- 
1891) at left, is best remembered as founder of the Benedictine presence in Florida. He 
was, however, also an accomplished painter in oils. Born in Bavaria, Pilz immigrated to the 
United States at age 19, entered the Benedictine Order in Pennsylvania and after ordination 
was sent back to Europe to study art in Munich. At Belmont, where he transferred his stability in 1888, Pilz's work included a 
distinguished portrait of Saint Benedict and one of Saint Scholastica, both still hanging in the monastery today. Father Alphonse Buss, 
O.S.B. (1877-1951) at right above, also worked in oils, but he was primarily a copyist. Able to paint in various styles, he devoted his art 
to portraiture, reproducing classics and devotional art (below). 

ALL saints fountain 

Through the years, the monks have regularly devoted a portion of their income 
to enhancing the beauty of the campus. Architectural integrity was a major 
concern of Abbot Leo's. Both his and later generations added statues, porches, 
landscaping, and other accoutrements. The All Saints Fountain (right) was 
donated in 1979 by Mrs. Grace Di Santo, a Carolina poet. The fountain sits in 
the monastery courtyard to the right of the Church. The Church has its own 
distinctive beauty, most notably the art glass windows created in Bavaria and 
first displayed at the 1892 World's Fair. 



Order of Saint Benedict. 

emBLems and insignia 

These are the escutcheons 
used at Belmont Abbey as 
part of coats-of-arms and as 
general institutional insignia. 

Abbot-Bishop Leo M. Haid, O.S.B. 
(used 1910-1924). 

Abbot-Ordinary Edmund F. McCaffrey, 
O.S.B. (used 1970-1975/1993). 

Maryhelp (Belmont) Abbey (1886- ). 

Abbot Oscar C. Burnett, O.S.B. 
(used 1994- ). 


the college motto 

Since 1876, the College has used as its motto ut in omnibus 
glorificetur Deus ("that in all things God may be glorified"), a 
phrase from Saint Benedict's Rule. Although the motto is 
prominently displayed on college documents, its seal, and the 
annual catalogue, confusion entered the picture when the College 
Ring (known simply as "The Ring") was designed (above). In 
process, the manufacturer reported that the motto was slightly too 
lengthy to be inscribed on the ring. In response, Father Cuthbert — 
required to make a quick decision on his own recognizance — 
decided to print instead the phrase vincit qui se vincit ("he conquers 
who conquers himself"). Allen characterized this new phrase as an 
appropriate slogan for the Abbeyman, even though it is not the 
motto of his alma mater. Also, it fit on The Ring. 

the seAl of BeLmont ABBey college 

The seal of Belmont Abbey College uses an escutcheon designed to 
honor the monastic origins of the institution. Against an azure field, 
there is a lion couchant, champagne in color. Above the lion are two 
rows of five six-pointed stars, also champagne in color. The lion is 
situated at the horizon line, beneath which there stretches an argent 
field, on which are imposed vertical bars, sable in color. The lion 
signifies Abbot-Bishop Leo Haid, O.S.B., president of the College (1885- 
1924), and author of the school's charter. The ten stars commemorate 
the first ten choirmonks who joined the Abbey. The inscription 
"U.I.O.G.D.," situated above the escutcheon, stands for the motto of the 
Benedictine Order and of Belmont Abbey College: Ut in omnibus 
glorificetur Deus ("that in all things God may be glorified"). The phrase 
in the outer circle, Sigillum Collegii Abbatiae Belmontanae, translates "The 
Seal of Belmont Abbey College." The date at the bottom of the outer 
circle indicates the foundation of the College in 1876. Laurel leaves are a 
heraldic device used to indicate the bearings of colleges and universities. 
On the Abbey's shield, they are situated in a manner that will enhance, 
but not enclose, the figures on the escutcheon. Since the Abbey is a 
Catholic college, the laurel is open at the top, rather than the bottom, 
symbolizing attention to God over more terrestrial interests. 

pResioentwU meoAllion 

When the president of the College is invested (above) in 
office, he receives the Presidential Medallion of Belmont 
Abbey College (below). Rendered in red-enamel and 
bronze, it is worn by the president when vested in 
academic robes for convocations, graduation, the 
Matriculation Ceremony, and other solemn occasions. 


ARChitectuRe And design 

The dignity of Abbey's buildings has given them prominence in the architecture of Gaston County and the 
South. The earliest monks saw sturdy brick buildings as signs of that most characteristic Benedictine virtue: 
stability. Under the influence of Abbot Leo and the monk-architect Father Michael Mclnerney, beauty and 
dignity also became characteristics at Belmont. Here are a few of the distinguished views of the campus. 



VARiety Of ARt 

The senior statue on campus is the image of 
Mary, Help of Christians (near left), depicted 
crowned and presenting the Christchild. 
European-made, the image was a gift from 
Abbot Boniface Wimmer, O.S.B., in 1877. 
Originally it stood on the dexter altar of the 
original chapel building. Upon the erection of 
the Abbey Church (1892-1893), it took its place at 
the summit of the main altar. With the 
Cathedral's renovation of 1964, this image of the 
patroness and titular of both the church and the 
monastery was positioned high on the east wall, 
specially lighted as if reigning over the whole 
assembly. Here are samples of the varied three- 
dimensional art on campus. 

This chalice was 
given to Bishop 
Haid in 1910 upon 
the occasion of his 
silver jubilee as 
abbot, by children 
of North Carolina, 
Charleston and 
other places. Gothic 
in design, it is 
composed of gold 
and silver, richly 
jeweled and was 
described as "a 
masterpiece of 
Christian art." 

Saint Walburga 
patroness of the 
monastery) with 
Our Lady of 
Lourdes in 

The Abbey Cathedral as a meeting place and backdrop (this photograph 
shows the freshmen class in 1991). 

The meeting of Stowe Hall and Saint Leo, a principal 
gathering place for conversation. 

aBBey tRafcitions 

With one-and-a-quarter centuries of history, the Abbey 
has adopted various customs and practices to punctuate 
her life. These are some of the places and ceremonies that 
engaged students — and alumni — through the years. 

Exchange of ideas (1990). 



Alumni gatherings (New York Saint Patrick Parade, 1988). 



section xvi 

the ABBey today 

the ceremony ending a 

student's college years is known as 
"commencement" because it marks his 
move into a new life. Abbot Jude Cleary, 
the fifth abbot, when chancellor of the College (he was 
also a former president), observed that what some 
people see as an ending may not be that at all. For when 
something is brought to a good conclusion, rather than 
a mere ending, one has evidence of success. 

Cleary believed that the annual commencement 
exercises are a sign that the dreams that marked the 
beginning of Abbey life had been lived and enjoyed, 
and had prepared the road to the future. In other words, 
the Abbey and her people had lived well and progressed 
rightly. They were ready to go into the world, 
representing the best of the Belmont Abbey College. 


transitions an6 change 

Although the Abbey is proud of her traditions, life 
here has never been static. Transitions and 
change are constants. Campus buildings have 
undergone more than a hundred renovations- 
some major, some cosmetic. The campus' land 
has varied between 500 and 900 acres. Interstate 
85 came through the property in the 1960's, 
seizing land, adding noise, but also providing 
convenience and access. Maintenance of 
buildings is another sign of change, being an 
annual project that brings improvements and 
growth as required. All of this ensures that when 
students return each autumn or when alumni 
visit, they are sure to find new or revised settings 
and an environment of continuing growth. 

Benedictine education 

Abbot-Bishop Leo Haid understood Benedictine education in terms of faculty 
that resided among and would be available to students throughout the day, not 
just in class. His professors were to be present as scholars, as priests, as counselors 
and examples, "a model in words and deeds to those under your care." In the 
Abbey today, the proximity of the faculty and monks to the students is still 
essential to the educational program. 


In a ceremony in Saint Leo Hall in 1909, author Christian Reid 
(Frances Tiernan) receives the University of Notre Dame's 
Laetare Medal, then the foremost award granted Catholic laity in 
the United States. 

On 21 March 1958, 
Kathleen Price Bryan 
(at left, beside her 
husband Joseph, and 
preceded by Mrs. 
Mary Cook) was 
invested with the 
Papal Cross Pro 
Ecciesia et Pontifice in 
ceremonies in the 
Abbey Cathedral. 

f At hen 

Father Michael 
O.S.B. (1877- 
1963), was the 
architect of more 
than 500 
buildings. On 
campus he 
helped with re- 
construction of the College Building, and designed Saint 
Leo Hall, the Haid Gymnasium, the Abbot Vincent 
Taylor Library, Music Building, the Stowe Hall portico, 
monastery porte cochere, and various other buildings. He 
was on the Abbey faculty for more than half-a-century. 
In 1959, Saint Vincent College awarded him an honorary 
doctorate, citing him as "an example to all of what a 
Christian may be when genuine art and genuine religion 
find lodgment in the heart and mind of one individual." 

chURch ceremonies 

The Abbey's prominence in the Catholic Church in 
the United States has brought to the campus 
ceremonies rare to the rural South and small 
colleges. Among these have been investitures of 
Papal knights, the bestowal of Notre Dame's Laetare 
Medal, and the granting of various Papal honorifics. 
The most significant occasion on campus was the 
erection of the monastery as an abbatia nullius, 
making it quasi-diocesan, with a territory separated 
from all other dioceses. The five abbots-m/ //z'us of 
Belmont (1910-1977) were the only abbots to hold full 
membership in the Bishops' conference. Also, as a 
result of the nullius, Belmont's church became a 
cathedral, the only Abbey Cathedral ever known in 
the United States. 


The erection of the nullius 'diocese' of Belmont in October 1910 
was the most elaborate ceremonial in the abbey's history. 
Archbishop (later Cardinal) Diomede Falconio presided as the 
Holy Father's personal representative. So many guests were 
expected to attend that limited space required the prior to ask 
the Benedictine abbots of America to come instead to a 
secondary event that November. 


On the day after his abbatial election, Abbot Leo expressed his plans for 
founding a Seminary at his new abbey. Although Belmont always gave 
prominence to the collegiate course, the seminarians were a continuing 
presence on campus for more than eight decades. Even after the 
Seminary was closed, young monks training for priesthood were still 
present, encouraging vocations and the work of the Church. 










advisors and tcustees 

In 1951, a group of laymen volunteered to assist Abbot 
Vincent Taylor in the Abbey's adaptation to the post-war 
world. That was the beginning of the Board of Advisors 
(above). They promoted the school's return to senior- 
college status and the campus' physical expansion in the 
1960's. In 1977, laymen were admitted to the Board of 
Trustees for the first time. Some of these (e.g., Mr. Edward 
F. Gallagher) had also been founders of the Advisors. The 
expanded Board of Trustees allowed ready access to the 
expertise of professionals in various fields who associated 
themselves with the Abbey, her principles, and her future. 
Today the College still benefits from the leadership of the 
Trustees and the counsel of the Advisors. 

entemnq into abbcv Life 

Freshmen beanies (right) have disappeared, but course- 
registration has not. The difference is that this regular ritual of 
campus life is now computerized and executed months in advance 
The challenge of registration is always the balance of curricular 
requirements against the new and particular interests each student develops and 
seeks to vent. In the Abbey tradition, the Academic Advisor works to ensure that 

The first Board of Trustees to include laity. 

each student acquires a 
solid foundation in the 
liberal arts, an 
embellished by 
breadth of samplings 
and a more precise 
specialization. At left is 
Father Jude Cleary as 
registrar, enrolling 

* ~ i. .$&^% 


^ — 

ejection of the 'nuLLius' 

This papal bull marked the creation in 1910 of the 
abbey as its own diocese. Executed by hand and 
weighted with the lead seal of the Holy See, this is 
but one of the original papal documents 
preserved in the monastery archives. 

off-CAmpus RepResentAtives 

Abbey faculty also represent the school when off-campus. 
Each year the professors and monks publish, present 
scholarly papers, and participate in professional meetings 
and convocations. One of the most important aspects of 
the Abbey's presence to the world was Abbot Walter 
Coggin's role as a Council Father at Vatican II (left). 


QOinq out to the community 

In each generation of students, new means have been sought to serve 
the needs of the campus, and the local and extended communities. There 
have been individual projects and service-fraternities (left); academic 
departments have organized sociological and historical studies; 
internships have placed students in a position to both learn and 
contribute. In addition, the campus hosts groups on campus throughout 
the year(above, center), including a series of summer camps in various 
sports, theatre, leadership and music. In the 1980's and 1990's, the College 
hosted the Gaston County Special Olympics (above, right), closing the 
school's offices and canceling classes so the entire campus community 
could participate. 


The faculty has had numerous writers 
in its ranks, most prominently Fathers 
Anselm Biggs, Thomas Oestreich, and 
Adelard Bouvilliers. There have also 
been creative writers: Father Walter 
Leahy, O.S.B., wrote a fictionalized 
account of student life at Belmont, 
entitled Clarence Belmont; Father Placid 
Kleppel, O.S.B. (left), was a respected 
poet, nominated to be poet-laureate of 
North Carolina; Dr. Russell Fowler 
(right), a present member of the 
Department of English, is also an 
accomplished poet. The stories of Mrs. 
Jean Moore, also on the English 
Department faculty, were both 
published and broadcast. Numerous 
alumni have published and won 
awards for their works. 



The first five abbots were heads of 'dioceses.' Haid was a bishop, and the vicar-apostolic of North Carolina. He and Abbots Vincent, 
Walter, Edmund, and Jude were all abbots-nullius, each reigning as Ordinary over the 'diocesan' jurisdiction of Belmont Abbey. In 
addition, two alumni have been raised to the Catholic episcopate, Bishop Joseph L. Federal (above left, at left, with Abbot Vincent 
Taylor) of Salt Lake City, and Bishop Vincent S. Waters (above right, center, as a student at the Abbey) of Raleigh (NC). 

miLitARy ReUtions 

Reflecting the consciousness of a world at war, the Abbey briefly sponsored a 
military program for students in the 1940's. Afterwards, the Board of Advisors 
recommended establishing a continuing military corps at Belmont, but Abbot 
Vincent vetoed that suggestion. The cadet leading the students in this 
photograph (front, center) would later be a monk-priest of the Abbey, Father 
Matthew McSorley, O.S.B. 

the pRovisions fOR college Life 

The newest building on campus is The Commons. 
Hosting the cafeteria, offices, and meeting facilities, it 
is situated near the dormitories in order to lend 
convenience to the students. Its location is also 
central to the patterns of campus traffic: The 
Commons is crossed by each student who passes 
from residence-hall to class and back. To further 
accommodate students' needs, various offices have 
been re-located on the east campus, including that of 
the Dean of Students and the Writing Center. Health 
Services is located in this area, too, as are the facilities 
for the campus security officers, the Career Planning 
Office, and other provisions. 


The most enduring sign of the stability and continuity of the Abbey is found in the monks. Daily 
Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, availability of Sacraments, the monks' service as professors, 
confessors, counselors, and friends, all are evidence of the difference of Abbey life. 


commencement exeRcises 

The annual commencement exercises have three stages. At the 
Baccalaureate Mass, the blessing of God is called upon the students, and 
they in response worship the Lord who is way, truth, and life. There 
follows the Hooding Ceremony where the students accept the academic 
hood that bears on one side the crimson and cream of Belmont Abbey 
College, and on the other the color that pertains to the graduate's field 
of study. Then comes the graduation and bestowal of degree. Much as 
the beginning of Abbey life was marked by the Matriculation 
Ceremony, formally enrolling the young scholar into the College, the 
attainment of a degree is marked by liturgy, vestments, ceremony, and 
a diploma testifying that "all the rights and privileges" pertaining 
thereto are hereby conferred. 

honoRS pROQRAm 

The Anne Home Little Honors Program allows 
a distinctive curriculum and advanced classes 
for superior students. Founded under the 
directorship of Dr. Eugene Thuot (above), it 
takes the top student-scholars through a more 
challenging curriculum, and enriches students' 
lives further by cultural opportunities and 
directed personal research projects, including 
an honors thesis. 

decrees fOR adults 

When nearby Sacred Heart College closed in 1987, Belmont Abbey adopted and 
enhanced their degree program for adults who balance the demands of education, 
career and family. Within ten years, the program had expanded to serve more than 
300 older students, ten times its original size, and included evening and weekend 
classes in both undergraduate and graduate programs. 


This collection 
of photographs 
allows a glimpse 

Abbey as she 
exists in the 
mid-1 990' s. 

"Bp in Ill 

section xvii 

the next 


alumni ape the Best 


illustration of the success of education. 
Belmont Abbey has achieved her mission 
if her alumni live a life marked by goodness, 

success, joy and satisfaction. 

To close this look at the Abbey, consider the new 
generation of alumni. To test the effect of the Abbey's 
Catholic, Benedictine, liberal arts program, we looked 
at graduates from the early 1980's, men and women 
who have been away from Belmont long enough to 
define the direction of their lives and test the worth of 
their Abbey education. 

The selection could have considered any group or 
any number from among more than 7,000 active alumni. 
We could have chosen teachers or politicians, priests 
or ministers, doctors or lawyers, entrepreneurs or artists, 
poets or bankers, philanthropists or civil servants, 
professional jugglers or parents who have made their 
families their primary focus. We decided to limit the 
selection to ten alumni from a randomly selected five- 
year period, all friends when here. We found in their 
lives something of the service and contributions 
whereunto Abbey graduates have traditionally given 


Robert Tully, Jr., 
class of 1984, 
Business major, 
Box Office 
Manager for 
Charlotte (NC) 

Nancy Manera, 
class of 1980, 
English major, 

playwright and educator; 1991 
laureate for the Thompson 
Playwrighting Award 


Mary Lally Kane, 

class of 1982, 

Special Education major, 

educator specializing in 

learning-challenged students; 

married; mother of two 

Mary T. Walsh, 
class of 1982, 
English major, 
ministers to children of broken 
homes; was previously with 
Covenant House (home for 
runaway children) and Diocese 
of Atlanta 

Richard J. Dougherty, 

class of 1981, 

Political Science major, 

scholar; now teaching at University of Dallas; author of distinguished 
study of Saint Augustine; married; father of five 


Nicholas H. Omirly, 
class of 1984, 
Economics major, 
Vice President of First Union Capital Markets 

Group; married 

Eric S. Powell, 
class of 1984, 
History major, 

Catholic priest of the Diocese of Peoria (IL); 
presently assigned to a Curial appointment in 
Rome at the Congregation for Oriental 
Churches (Vatican) 

Roma Dudko Grogan, 
class of 1984, 
English major, 
sings professionally; married; mother 
of three; now living in England